Page 1

[brief] guide

the museum of capodimonte

editor maria sapio art director enrica d’aguanno graphic layout francesca aletto translation colum fordham

arte’m is a registered trademark prismi editrice politecnica napoli srl quality standard ISO 9001: 2008 ethical standard SA 8000: 2008 printed in italy @ copyright 2012 by prismi editrice politecnica napoli srl all rights reserved

photographic references archivio fotografico soprintendenza speciale per il patrimonio storico, artistico ed etnoantropologico e per il polo museale della città di napoli, luciano basagni coordination fernanda capobianco @ copyright ministero per i beni e le attività culturali

acknowledgements ornella agrillo umberto bile angela cerasuolo brigitte daprà lucio fiorile paola giusti sergio liguori mariaserena mormone marina santucci mariella utili special thanks go to fabrizio vona linda martino

Table of contents


Foreword Fabrizio Vona


The Museum of Capodimonte

12 Royal Wood of Capodimonte 18 19 21 24 30

ground floor and mezzanine floor The Auditorium, the Sol LeWitt room, the Causa room The Mele posters Drawings and Prints Room The Nineteenth Century: a ‘private view’

38 39 56 92

first floor The Farnese Gallery The Borgia collection The Gallery of rare things

127 141 146 153 160

The Royal Apartment The Porcelain Gallery The De Ciccio collection The Farnese and Bourbon Armoury The Camuccini room, the “Gran Galleria”

166 167 218

second floor The Gallery of Arts in Naples from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Century The d’Avalos collection

230 231 234 238

third floor The Nineteenth Century Gallery Contemporary Art The photographic Gallery

Fabrizio Vona Superintendent Patrimonio Storico Artistico Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Napoli

If there is a topos that has kept up the reputation of this corner of the universe since 1738, despite the city’s chequered history, then it is the Museum of Capodimonte. The beauty of nature and priceless works of art co-exist side by side in this extraordinary place. The collections of the residence-cum-museum, which have ‘grown’ around the original Farnese collection, are arranged in the sumptuous rooms of the royal palace, set in the splendid grounds of over 120 hectares, with a spectacular panorama of the whole magic circle of the Bay of Naples. Since then, these attractions have never failed to conquer artists, products, entire collections and experimentation, dynasty after dynasty until the epilogue of contemporary Italy: they range from Titian to Parmigianino and the Caracci family, to the famous ‘Farnese casket’ that belonged to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese; from the collection of Cardinal Borgia, bought by the Bourbons in 1817, to the acquisitions made after Unification, works of great importance such as the Crucifixion by Masaccio or the Portrait of fra Luca Pacioli by Jacopo dei Barbari; the second floor contains the most important works of art in Naples from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, Caravaggio, Ribera, Giordano, the school of Posillipo...; last but not least, there is a selection of ‘contemporary’ paintings, sculptures and inventions, made expressly for Capodimonte, site specific works produced in the last few decades by artists of international renown. However, there is a most unexpected aspect of this ‘haven of excellence’, the aspect that should be emphasised to counter the widespread condition, and prejudices, of refractoriness towards the organisation of the race of Parthenope: the unquestionable quality of the ‘system’ of the facilities available to the public, from the foundation of the museum to the latest display. In terms of the modernity of the museological choices, the meticulous care in daily running and the attention to detail, few mu6  FOREWORD

seums in Italy and leading international museums can rival Capodimonte. It is a clear demonstration, going against the prevailing trend, of how it is possible, with commitment, intelligence and generosity, to compensate for the lack of resources, staff and context. However... in terms of connecting this happy isle to the so-called historic centre of Naples and with regard to an updated, professional and innovative strategy for enhancing this formidable heritage, the road is still a long one and, for the most part, is still waiting to be explored. There is much talk of communication, new technological frontiers and vague multimedia initiatives. A few people, a small minority who have displayed praiseworthy generosity and moderation, are trying to experiment practically with the mixture of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres that is best suited to the new forms of enhancement with more restrained and rigorously controlled costs.

This is the spirit underlying this “brief guide”, which is accessible in terms of language, clear iconography, pocket format and price. It is a summary, both in printed form and on-line, which is accessible to all, selecting and describing the museum’s crucial features. In this way the museum can become a site for the community, a meeting place with its own identity that can renew itself in terms of memory and imagination, an incubator of value and sustainable values, ideas and original dreams. It is a precious piece in the mosaic that encourages a further radical transformation of attitudes and practices, involving conservation, research, restoration and public services, which we are called upon to pursue in the name of the ethical spirit of our profession, and the enthusiasm to rise to the challenge.


The Museum of Capodimonte

The accession to the Neapolitan throne of Charles of Bourbon (1734-1759), son of Philip V of Spain and the Italian noblewoman Elisabetta Farnese, was crucial to the city’s history: after two centuries of rule by Spanish viceroys (1503-1707) and thirty years of Austrian rule (1707-1734), Naples once more became the capital of an independent kingdom and the young sovereign began reorganising the entire layout of the city. The hill of Capodimonte was covered in lush woodland teeming with game and offered stunning views of Vesuvius, San Martino and Posillipo. It provided the ideal site for royal hunts and in 1738 the king commissioned Antonio Medrano to build his palace there. Set in over 120 hectares of parkland – the largest nature reserve in the city, with farmhouses, stables, greenhouses and a factory for manufacturing porcelain created by order of the king – the palace was both a royal residence for relaxing pursuits and a showcase for displaying the precious collections that the sovereign inherited from his mother Elisabetta Farnese, whose family were the grand dukes of Parma and Piacenza. The ‘piano nobile’, or main floor, housed one of the most famous and prestigious collections of the period: the outstanding works of art and rare ‘antiquities’ had been transported to Naples from the Farnese residences of Parma, Piacenza, Colorno and Rome. These included famous paintings – by artists such as Mantegna, Bellini, Raphael, Titian, Carracci – impressive classical Roman statues, the famous statues of Hercules, Flora and the Farnese Bull group – and the collection of antique gems and cameos. While the paintings were displayed in Capodimonte, the classical works, together with the finds from Herculaneum (from 1738) and later Pompeii, ended up during the reign of Ferdinand IV in the Real Museo Borbonico, now the National Archaeological Museum. The king was equally committed to setting up new types of manufacturing: his pet project was the porcelain factory at Capodimonte which stood in the palace grounds. THE MUSEUM OF CAPODIMONTE  9

Such was the prestige linked to the success of the factory that, when he was about to leave for Spain to inherit the throne (1759), the king ‘invited’ the craftsmen and technicians that worked there to follow him to take the factory to Madrid. The facilities and kilns in Naples were destroyed but one of the first achievements of his son Ferdinand, as soon as he was freed from paternal tutelage, was to open a new factory. Sophisticated examples of the articles produced by the factories of Caroline and Ferdinand are on display in the porcelain gallery on the first floor of the museum. Restoration work on the fittings and decoration was carried out during the eighteenth century. During the ‘French decade’ (1806-1815, the reigns of Joseph Bonaparte and Joaquin Murat, the result of the Napoleonic conquests) and subsequently with the Bourbon restoration, the palace became the special setting for courtly life as well as for historic and civic events. Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte preferred the palace on the hill. Following the orders of Murat (King of Naples from 1808 to 1815), ordered links between the hill and the urban centre to be transformed into a more functional system through the construction of a long road known as ‘corso Napoleone’ (the continuation of via Santa Teresa degli Scalzi, now known as ‘corso Amedeo di Savoia Duca d’Aosta’ in its last stretch). The project (1807-1809, designed by Nicola Leandro with Gioacchino Avellino and the work supervised by Bartolomeo Grasso) featured a wide, straight road spanning the valley of 10  THE MUSEUM OF CAPODIMONTE

the Sanità with an innovative bridge. The perspective of the street ends with the elliptical piazza called ‘Tondo di Capodimonte’. Italian unification marked an important step in the transformation of the palace of Capodimonte into a museum: Annibale Sacco, the administrative head of the House of Savoy, planned to use several rooms of the ‘piano nobile’ (main floor) as a ‘gallery’ for works by contemporary painters and sculptors, with subsequent enlargements following purchases by the Savoys, marking the arrival of ‘contemporary’ art alongside the ‘ancient’ collections. Capodimonte consolidated its role as a palace-museum: until the Second World War, it was the residence of the dukes of Aosta. During this period, there was an expansion of the collections of paintings, art objects and furnishings which were moved to Capodimonte from the old Bourbon palaces: in 1866, a sensation was caused by the arrival of Capodimonte porcelain panels from the royal palace of Portici which, during the mid-eighteenth century, had decorated the walls of the boudoir of Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony (wife of Charles). The panels were dismantled and reassembled – down to the smallest detail, including the chandelier – in the northern wing of the palace of Capodimonte [room 51, close to the entrance hall of the historic apartment]. They are one of the most sophisticated examples of the widespread European fashion for ‘chinoiserie’ which was popular among the royal houses during the eighteenth century. In May 1957, the Museum and National

Galleries of Capodimonte were set up with the arrival of the collections of medieval and modern art, previously on display with the ‘antiquities’ from the Farnese collection, Pompeii and Herculaneum in the ‘Museo Borbonico’ (nowadays the National Archaeological Museum). Thanks to the passion and expertise of Bruno Molajoli, Ezio De Felice, Raffaello Causa, Ferdinando Bologna and Oreste Ferrari, the newly created museum was the culmination of the most enlightened nineteenth century legacy of the concept of the museum. The reorganisation and enlargement of the collections began in the 1990s. The work focused on the identity of the core collections (the Farnese collection, the Bourbon

collection, the Borgia collection, the postUnification material, up to the most recent collections) and on ensuring the most effective use of the royal apartment. Significant attention was also placed on establishing an ideal itinerary through the history of the arts in Naples, in chronological order, together with the development of educational services and facilities for the public. This reorganisation process has ensured that the Museum of Capodimonte today plays a prestigious central role, fully in keeping with the rich cultural and artistic heritage it has inherited: the museum’s displays have few equals among other large international museums.


royal wood of capodimonte 1 porta grande (main gate) 2 palazzotti building 3 palace 4 princes’ shooting lodge 5 colletta building 6 colletta gate (now in disuse) 7 stables 8 porta piccola (small gate) 9 caccetta gate 10 middle gate 11 church of st januarius 12 fabbrica di porcellana 13 cellar 14 pheasant house 15 goat house 16 large cistern 17 queen’s shooting lodge 18 miano gate 19 hermitage of the capuchins 20 capuchin cemetery 21 middle fountain 22 vecchietta building 23 st januarius building 24 bird nets 25 santa maria dei monti gate dei monti 26 tower garden 27 tower building 28 gate overlooking quarry of miano 29 cataneo building 30 small grotto 31 grotto di maria cristina di savoia 32 amendola gorge 33 cervi gorge 34 st januarius gorge 35 miano gorge


Royal Wood of Capodimonte

The wood surrounding the palace of Capodimonte is a testament to the Bourbons’ passion for hunting and botany. The 120 hectares of parkland, containing 400 varieties of old trees (oaks, holm-oaks, chestnuts and limes), were designed by the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice in 1742 in an original combination of the perspective view of the Enlightenment garden and the spectacular layout of late baroque culture. The wood fully reflects the qualities of the Bourbons’ royal residences: the main building was surrounded by the king’s park-cum-hunting grounds which were run on a self-sufficient economic and financial basis with well-organised farms and specific factories designed to exploit the site’s special resources. The woodland was inhabited by thrushes, turtle doves, garden warblers, pheasants imported from Bohemia, hares, rabbits and deer to satisfy the king’s passion of hunting. The main entrance to the royal park is called “Porta di Mezzo” (the Middle Gate), an elliptical area which fans out into five avenues criss-crossed by wide lateral paths decorated with statues, most of which are missing or damaged. The surviving statues include the Giant, made from fragments of ancient marble, and the sculptures of the Months – severely damaged – originally placed in niches decorating the entrance area. The central avenue of the radial layout of the park – the ‘Viale di Mezzo’ or ‘Middle avenue’ – measures about 125 metres. It is the longest of the avenues and has a ‘dome’ effect created by careful pruning that has brought together the two lateral rows of the tall holm oaks into an arch. The buildings in the park, some of which have been restored and reconverted to new use, were designed to be courtly residences, factories or farms for growing crops and rearing livestock. The small “princes” building, with a small greenhouse beside it, became the ROYAL WOOD OF CAPODIMONTE   13

residence of the sons of Francis I in 1826. Some of the kingdom’s most famous products were made in the Royal porcelain factory (1743), restored by Sanfelice (it is now the ‘Istituto professionale Caselli’, a technical college for the production of ceramics). Other areas were later created for keeping pheasants and cows as well as a cellar. There is also a church dedicated to St Janarius, founded by Charles of Bourbon in 1745 for the spiritual care of the numerous inhabitants of the royal park. In 1817-19 Charles’ son Ferdinand commissioned the neogothic hermitage of the Capuchins in fulfillment of a vow, in accordance with tradition, following the reconquest of the Kingdom after the decade of Napoleonic rule. Since 1950 the hermitage has been entrusted to the private institution known as ‘Opera per la salute del fanciullo’. The ‘queen’s’ shooting lodge, originally a small pavilion designed for repose during hunting, was a gift of Ferdinand II (before 1840) to the queen mother Maria Isabella. As eighteenth century prints show, the buildings were surrounded by gardens, belvederes, vegetable gardens and orchards which have been modified or destroyed over time. The cultivated areas, part of the system of the ‘garden of delights’ that decorated all the buildings in the park (eliminated during nineteenth century renovation work), have largely been destroyed, except for a few surviving traces: the Tower garden, access to which is from the last part of the ‘viale di Mezzo’ (Middle avenue), is an old 14  ROYAL WOOD OF CAPODIMONTE

Bourbon citrus orchard, and the ‘secret garden’ which contains rare fruit trees, a pineapple nursery and mulberries. At the Tower farm (restored in 1999), situated on the north-west edge of the wood, it is still possible to distinguish areas devoted to different types of cultivation, such as the ‘Fruit tree orchard’. There is a path going through the orchard, bordered by a double row of citrus trees, which gave access to the different areas of fruit trees. The ‘Fruit tree orchard’ leads to the Tower house, a small rural complex consisting of a building with a round tower, and to the ‘Flower garden’, a ‘secret’ walled garden decorated with an exedra with pear trees and a central round pool, the ‘Vaseria’ (a storage area for pots), the ‘Purpignera’ garden, possible used for breeding the plants grown on the farm, and lastly to the ‘low fruit tree orchard’, probably used as a nursery. In 2012 a project was set up to restore the garden and the different areas returned to cultivation. The vegetable garden occupies an area of about 2,000 square metres and is a small nursery devoted to preserving local biodiversity, virtuous examples of small-scale agriculture: the Neapolitan bell pepper, the San Marzano tomato and the ‘dente di morto’ haricot bean from Acerra are all grown using the traditional techniques and methods of cultivation of rural Campania; this type of agriculture, which is still observed by a few smallholders in the urban area of Naples, is organic and has a low environmental impact.

In the 1830s, exotic plants such as thuja and eucalyptus were planted in the park, arranged according to the canons of modern landscape gardening. The botanist Federico Dehnhardt redesigned the flat area around the palace, enhancing the view of Vesuvius to the east and the Bay of Naples to the south. Following Italian unification, the oriental approach to landscaping prevailed, and palms were planted around the palace. The layout of the garden to the south of the palace dates back to the reign of Umberto I of Savoy (1878-1900), when the fountain of the belvedere was placed on the plateau, with the sculptures moved from the Torre garden. The avenues and the belvedere were created during this period. Unsurprisingly, the area was ‘baptised’ the view of Naples: the immense panorama from the hill of San Martino reached as far as Punta Campanella, the headland at the end of the Sorrento peninsula, in myriad shades of blues between the sky and the sea. It represents a spectacular piece of natural botanical heritage that is one of the most precious and fascinating examples of its kind in Naples.

to the previous page Belvedere of the park Statue of the Giant 16  ROYAL WOOD OF CAPODIMONTE

“Princes” building


ground floor



biglietteria, bookshop e caffetteria


scalone esagonale

ticket office, bookshop and cafeteria


sala Sol LeWitt

piano terra


hexagonal staircase auditorium piano ammezzato

drawings and prints room the nineteenth century: a ‘private view’ the mele posters



mezzanine floor

disegni e stampe

causa room

sala causa

sezione ’800

manifesti mele

sol lewitt room

The Auditorium, the Sol LeWitt room, the Causa room

The Auditorium, connected to the hall of the Museum and adjoining spaces, is equipped for showing films, lectures and simultaneous interpreting while its acoustics have been designed for performances of live music. It still preserves its function as a museum display room with two large tapestries, belonging to the d’Avalos collection, hanging on the long walls. On the basement floor there is a large room where educational activities are organised for younger visitors, marked by a contemporary art space/installation by Sol LeWitt (Hartford 1928 - New York 2007). This nucleus of multifunctional display spaces forms an integrated system for exhibitions, meetings, seminars, lectures and concerts. The southern courtyard of the palace leads to the basement area of the Museum, the Causa room, measuring over 700 square metres: this systematic, multifunctional solution is designed for large scale temporary exhibitions and important events, situated in the heart of the monumental foundations of the palace, which can be run without interfering with the ordinary daily activities of the Museum. The globally arranged system of the museum – permanent collections, spaces for events and refreshment facilities – reflects the way it has managed to regain a leading role in international cultural tourism.


The Mele posters

The collection of posters of the Mele department stores has become part of the heritage of the Museum of Capodimonte thanks to the donation by the heirs of the Mele family in 1988. Following careful restoration work, the thirty two posters in the collection are on display in the mezzanine floor of the north wing of the palace in the rooms adjacent to the Auditorium. Not only are the posters an important testament to the modernity of Neapolitan figurative language between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but they also document the entrepreneurial capacities of a leading company in early twentieth century Italy. Mele was the family firm of the brothers Emiddio and Alfonso who were entrepreneurs in the textile industry. As a result of their extensive knowledge of large international commercial organisations, they decided to import the formula of the large department store to Italy and in 1889 they opened ‘Grandi Magazzini Italiani’ in via San Carlo in Naples. A major factor behind the gradual success of the ‘Magazzini’ was the constant investment in advertising: this ranged from advertisements in newspapers, to commercial catalogues, from the illustrated pamphlets distributed in Naples and other Italian cities in recreational locations and meeting places, to actual gadgets with the name ‘Magazzini’ on musical scores, calendars, fans and hand mirrors, and even more innovative and unconventional forms of advertising, such as the witty lines about ‘Magazzini Mele’ inserted by Eduardo Scarpetta in his plays. Considerable sums were spent on advertising: the posters that the brothers commissioned each year at the ‘Officina Grafica Ricordi’ were famous and immediately recognisable; they were designed by leading illustrators such as Franz Laskoff (1869-1918/21), Leopoldo Metlicovitz (1868-1944), Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942), Aleardo Villa (1865-1906), Achille Beltrame (1871-1945), Gian Emilio Malerba (1880-1926) and, in particular, Marcello Dudovich (1878-1962); in his collaboration with the company from 1901 to 1910, Dudovich established the distinctive character of the Italian advertising poster in the period between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. THE MELE POSTERS  21

Gian Emilio Malerba (Milan 1880-1926) Start of the season 1906 A young smiling woman, sitting on a bench, leans forward, attracted by something outside the field of view, and the unbalanced figure enables the illustrator to insert the Mele logo in the upper right of the poster. Signed.


Franz Laskoff (Bromberg 1869-1918/21) Menswear 1901 Largo di Palazzo in Naples (the square nowadays known as ‘Piazza del Plebiscito’), featuring numerous walking figures, acts as an unusual backdrop for this advertising poster. Signed. Aleardo Villa (Ravello 1865 - Milan 1906) News for ladies 1903 The iconography chosen to advertise Mele’s women’s clothing for 1903 is a reference to a classical myth: a cupid hides an apple behind his back to be given to the most elegant of the three women. The scene is taken from the myth of Paris who gives the golden apple to the goddess whom he judges to be the most beautiful between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.


Drawings and Prints Room

From the southern courtyard of the palace, the hexagonal staircase leads to the section of the Museum devoted to graphic works in the mezzanine floor of the southern wing of the palace. About 2,500 drawings and 25,000 extraordinary prints from the Farnese collection with the Michelangelo’s cartoons for the Paolina chapel and Raphael’s cartoons for the ‘Stanza di Eliodoro’ (Room of Heliodorus) in the Vatican – to the drawings, purchased subsequently, by artists from Emilia, from the Carracci brothers to Lanfranco (about 400 drawings with preparatory studies for frescoes in Neapolitan churches) and Reni; Florentine artists such as Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo; Genoese and Venetian artists, Tintoretto and Palma the younger; Roman and Neapolitan artists. These are followed by the collection of Cardinal Stefano Borgia, purchased by Ferdinand I in 1817 from the cardinal’s nephew, featuring 86 works including Indian drawings and watercolours, previously displayed in 1841 at the Royal Bourbon Museum; then there are the masterpieces of the collection of the Count Carlo Firmian of Trento, purchased by the Bourbons in 1782, with over 20,000 prints (Dürer, Stefano della Bella, Giovan Battista Castiglione, Rembrandt) and precious donations from private collectors, beginning with the foundation of the Museum of Capodimonte in 1957. One of the most important donations was the collection of Angelo and Mario Astarita (1970), which consists of 419 drawings, watercolours and oils by artists from the Posillipo school – and in particular by the great painter Giacinto Gigante – key pieces of evidence for nineteenth century landscape painting in Naples. The Italian state recently made an important purchase for the graphic collection of Capodimonte consisting of the 64 drawings with studies and elevations by the 24  DRAWINGS AND PRINTS ROOM

Neapolitan architect Federico Travaglini, who was active in Rome and Naples during the early nineteenth century. The drawings and prints section has been situated in the rooms on the mezzanine floor since 1994, following the restoration and renovation of the plant engineering and safety standards of the rooms. Besides the display rooms open to the public, the section also has a special area for restoring drawings, which are classified and preserved in their original mountings, a consultation room for scholars and a laboratory for conservation work. Beginning in 1995, the displays of the Museum collections underwent reorganization. A room of the Farnese gallery on the first floor (the ‘piano nobile’ or main floor) of the palace [room 4] was set aside to display the cartoons of Michelangelo and Raphael. In the long section devoted to the development of the arts in Naples from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, on the second floor, three rooms were devoted to the cyclical display of drawings for conservation reasons [rooms 81 and 83-84].


Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591 - Naples 1652) Grotesque head 1622 Firmian collection Preparatory study for an etching. The close attention shown to the specific features of the portrayed subjects, often verging on deformity or illness, is a characteristic aspect of the artist’s work: his brutal realism shows no hint of irony and is sympathetic to the reality of the humblest members of society. 26  DRAWINGS AND PRINTS ROOM

Aniello Falcone (Naples 1607-1656) Head of a warrior and study of a helmet c. 1640 Bourbon collection Probably a life drawing, the work was a preparatory study for the head of Barak in the fresco of Deborah and Barak in the Santagata chapel in the church of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples.

Giovanni Lanfranco (Parma 1582 - Rome 1647) Carthusian saint c. 1637-39 Bourbon collection The work belongs to a series of drawings which were studies for the frescoes in the Carthusian monastery of San Martino (1637-1639), part of a large number of drawings – about 400 sheets – that record the activity of the painter, a leading figure of Baroque culture in Naples.


Rembrandt (Leida 1606 - Amsterdam 1669) Judith beheads Olophernes c. 1650 Firmian collection


The rapid and confident strokes of the pen in this drawing reflect the simplification in the forms and the expressive synthesis achieved by the artist after 1650, both in drawings and copperplate engravings.

Giacinto Gigante (Naples 1806 - 1876) St Mary Donnaregina 1865 Astarita collection With the partial use of watercolour, the work is part of a series of drawings devoted to the convent of Santa Maria Donnaregina in Naples, possibly commissioned by the Abbess. Using rapid and confident strokes of the pen, the artist portrays landscapes and fascinating views of works of architecture, populated with lively, poetic figures.


The Nineteenth Century: a ‘private view’

The mezzanine floor, known as the “piano matto”, in the southern wing of the palace opposite the Drawings and Prints Room, contains the new Nineteenth Century Gallery (2012), with access from the spectacular neoclassical hexagonal staircase. The seven rooms that make up the section contain early nineteenth century paintings linked to neoclassicism (Camuccini, room 1), famous landscape paintings by the Posillipo school (Pitloo, Gigante, the Palizzi brothers, rooms 2-3), realist works from the second half of the nineteenth century (Gemito, Morelli, Cammarano, De Nittis, room 4), works displaying the influence of orientalism in the late nineteenth century (room 5), important works (Toma, D’Orsi, Boldini, Balla, room 7) acquired by the Museum through generous donations by private citizens and artists. During the nineteenth century the rooms were the private premises of the Bourbon court: in 1816 they constituted the personal apartment of Ferdinand I, while in the mid nineteenth century the set of rooms formed “an apartment for the use of H.R.H. Princess Caroline”, daughter of Francis I and Maria Isabella of Spain, who stayed there during visits to Naples even after her marriage, in 1850, to Carlos Luis de Borbon, Count of Montemolin. Under the Savoys, the rooms were used by the minor branch of the dukes of Aosta who lived there until the palace became state property in 1920. During the 1950s, the rooms, now the offices of the Soprintendenza, were given a new function and the building work partly altered the structures. The recent restoration work has recreated the original volume of the wing and enhanced the spaces with a layout that restores the building’s nineteenth century romantic charm. Paintings are now displayed in the evocative interiors of the aristocratic residences of the period with wonderful views from the windows of the park and monumental 30  THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: A ‘PRIVATE VIEW’

courtyards. There are works produced by the Neapolitan and Italian schools of painting from the first few decades of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century (from Neoclassicism to Biedermeier and eclecticism). The area also contains furnishings made in Naples during the same period specifically for the palace of Capodimonte which have been restored and reassembled following careful philological research. Paintings, sculptures, chandeliers, furnishings, fabrics and hangings interact in an intimate setting to recreate the cosy and sophisticated atmosphere of a private residence of the royal court, respecting modern museological criteria and focusing on the accessibility of the works on display.


Anton Smink Pitloo (Arnhem 1790 - Naples 1837) The temples of Paestum c. 1826


Landscape painted from real life, probably during inspections carried out at Paestum in 1826. [room 2]

Giuseppe de Nittis (Barletta 1846 - Saint-Germainen-Laye 1884) Crossing the Apennines A memory 1867

Painted just before the artist’s first journey to Paris, the work is a highly personal and concise interpretation of the landscape. Signed and dated. [room 4]


Vincenzo Gemito (Naples 1852-1929) The player c. 1868 One of the first works by Gemito to reflect his links with the figurative trend of realism, the work is a true-to-life portrait of a Neapolitan street urchin. The sculpture was purchased by Victor Emmanuel II for Capodimonte in1870. [room 4] 34  THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: A ‘PRIVATE VIEW’

Filippo Palizzi (Vasto 1818 - Naples 1899) Study for the ‘Trip to Cava’ 1881

A study for a painting dating to 1882, now in a private collection, which on the right shows the same characters playing cards. A photograph, found amongst the Palizzi’s papers, shows a similar scene and indicates the names of the card players: his painter friends whom the artist used to meet at Cava to study ‘plein air’ painting together and who were later portrayed in the work. Signed and dated. [room 4]


Gioacchino Toma (Galatina 1836 Naples 1891) Beneath Vesuvius in the morning 1882 View taken from real life, in the first morning light, at the foot of Vesuvius. There is a similarity between the smoke from the puff of the train that comes into view from the left and the plume of smoke rising from Vesuvius, depicted in an interesting comparison between nature and machinery. Signed and dated. Toma donation (1961). [room 7] Gioacchino Toma (Galatina 1836 Naples 1891) Beneath Vesuvius in the evening 1886 A copy done four years later of the same landscape theme, identical but observed at a different time of day. Signed and dated. Toma donation (1961). [room 7] 36  THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: A ‘PRIVATE VIEW’

Giovanni Boldini (Ferrara 1842 - Paris 1931) A walk in the park c. 1880

Giacomo Balla (Turin 1871 - Rome 1958) The Carelli family c. 1901

A fascinating combination of a female portrait and an autumnal landscape. Signed. Part of the donation made by Alfonso Marino (1957). [room 7]

The work belongs to the period prior to the artist’s interest in futurism when he specialised in portraits. Balla, who was only supposed to portray Mrs Carelli, also included her husband and their eldest daughter Libera to give the scene greater dynamism. Signed. The painting was donated to Capodimonte by the sisters Libera, Luce and Vera Carelli (1986). [room 7] THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: A ‘PRIVATE VIEW’  37

o reale





first floor


2/30 farnese gallery


25 26











46 / 50 farnese and bourbon armoury


15 40


41 39


39 / 40 de ciccio collection





























52 porcelain room










35, 36 porcelain gallery



23, 31 / 60 royal apartment



7 borgia collection

The Farnese Gallery

The Farnese Gallery constitutes the core collection around which the Capodimonte collections have been built up. The Farnese collections were the inheritance of Charles of Bourbon. They include paintings, sculptures, sophisticated objects of decorative art, mainly by artists from central-northern Italy, collected or commissioned over a period of about two centuries in Rome within the circle of Pope Paul III and his nephew Alessandro, and in Parma where the family had settled during the seventeenth century. They were supplemented over the following centuries by works that arrived at Capodimonte as acquisitions – by the Bourbons (like the Borgia collection purchased in 1817 which is on display in room 7 of the Museum), the Savoys and the Italian state – donations or bequests. The museum is arranged in spaces according to the area of origin and collections, in chronological order, combining the masterpieces of the Farnese collection with related works purchased subsequently. The main collection of works from the Emilia area is particularly important. They include the Mystic marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Correggio, which was previously in the collection of Barbara Sanseverino and confiscated by the Farnese family together with the art collections of other nobles after the plot of 1612 against the new dukes, and the famous portraits of Galeazzo Sanvitale and Antea (Portrait of a Young Woman) by Parmigianino. The collection also contains early masterpieces by Annibale Carracci, who worked with his brother and cousin, moving between the Duchy of Emilia and the Roman court: examples of Caracci’s youthful works include the Mystic marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, emblematic of the ‘new’ style that combined the ideal of classicism with vigorous naturalism, Hercules at the crossroads, which once adorned the ceiling of the dressing room of Cardinal Odoardo in Palazzo Farnese in Rome, together with the works THE FARNESE GALLERY  39

of Lanfranco – of whose later work many altarpieces still survive – Domenichino, Albani, Guido Reni (whose absence in the collections was rectified in the early nineteenth century with the Bourbon purchase of Atlanta and Hipomenes). There are numerous paintings by Bartolomeo Schedoni, an artist who was active for many years at the household of the Farnese family for whom he worked almost exclusively. His works include the Scene of alms-giving, the artist’s masterpiece. The Tuscan school is represented by two paintings by Masolino da Panicale, parts of a tryptych painted for the Roman church of Santa Maria Maggiore with the assistance of Masaccio, whose Crucifixion, which was purchased in the early twentieth century, was the cimasa, the topmost portion of the polyptych, in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa. Other works include the Virgin with Child and angels by Sandro Botticelli, the fragments, portraying the Heavenly Father and the Virgin Mary, of an altarpiece by the young Raphael, who painted the portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the future Pope Paul III [room 2, devoted to the main characters of the Farnese family] and the Virgin of Divine Love, of which a study by Giovan Francesco Penni also survives. The most important works from the Veneto region include the Transfiguration by Giovanni Bellini, the Portrait of fra Luca Pacioli by Jacopo de’ Barbari, and the Virgin and Child with St Peter the Martyr by Lorenzo Lotto. 40  THE FARNESE GALLERY

Titian was commissioned to do paintings by the Farnese family, which has led to an extraordinary legacy of works with few comparisons in museum collections in Italy and abroad: the portraits of Pope Paul III with his grandsons, Pierluigi first Duke of Parma and Danae reflect the relationship of patronage between a leading family of the Renaissance and the most famous artist of the period. In 1549, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese commissioned Marcello Venusti, a pupil of Michelangelo, to paint a copy of the Universal Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, which had only been recently revealed to the general public. It provides precious evidence of the original prior to the moralising intervention of the Counter-Reformation which ‘clothed’ the Michelangeloesque nudes. Domenico Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco, was one of the first ‘foreign’ artists to work for the Farnese family. Born in Candia (Heraklion) in Crete, he moved to Venice where he spent a period studying in Titian’s studio. El Greco’s works include the celebrated painting El Soplòn (a boy blowing on an ember to light a candle, a masterly study of lighting effects) and the Portrait of the miniaturist Giulio Clovio, commissioned by Fulvio Orsini, the librarian at Rome of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who later inherited his collection. Among the various European schools of painting (Dutch, German, Spanish, French and Flemish schools), there are important examples of Flemish painting. This was due both to the Cardinal Alessandro Farnese’s

passionate enthusiasm for collecting and to his successor Cardinal Odoardo who enlarged the collection with works by Gillis Mostaert, Peter De Witte, Herri met de Bles known as ‘il Civetta’, as well as Portrait of Charles V by Bernart van Orley. Farnese’s interest in Flemish art became firmly established when Margaret of Austria – the natural daughter of Charles V and the wife (1538) of Ottavio, the second duke of Parma – was appointed regent of the Low Countries (1559-1567). The paintings that entered the collections included the Markets by Beuckelaer and the small erotic paintings by Jan Sons portraying Loves of the gods, probably intended to decorate a ceiling in the ducal palace in Parma. The same artist was commissioned to paint the enigmatic work Cebetis Thebani Tabula. The confiscation of the property of the aristocratic families of Parma involved in the plot of 1612 increased the number of works by Flemish artists in the Farnese collections: particularly interesting works from the collection of Giovanni Battista Masi include the Seven deadly sins by Jacques de Backer and, above all, the two major paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Misanthrope and the Parable of the blind leading the blind, bought by Cosimo Mansi, the secretary of Prince Alessandro Farnese during his stay in Flanders (1571 and 1594). The collection grew further in 1693 with the addition of the art works belonging to Princess Maria Maddalena, sister of Duke Ranuccio, inherited from her mother Margherita de’ Medici (Lucas van

Leyden, Jan Söns, Marten de Vos). The last dukes of Parma purchased works such as St George slaying the dragon by Peter Paul Rubens and the small painting portraying the Sacred conversation, bought in 1713 as the work of Dürer but actually produced by the studio of Konrad Witz. The subsequent additions to the Capodimonte collections mainly date to the Bourbon period, such as the painting Landscape with the nymph Egeria by Claude Lorrain, purchased for the Bourbons by Domenico Venuti, sent to Rome in the attempt to recover the artistic heritage seized by the French during the Napoleonic decade (1806-1815) and the Crucifixion by van Dyck, bought for 1500 ducats. In recent times, the Italian state has purchased works and generous donations have been made by private collectors to the museum: Bernardo Bellotto, Vaprio and Canonica viewed southwards from the western shore of the river Adda (a De Feo Leonardi donation 2004); Francesco Guardi, The bridge of Rialto and View of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore (a De Feo Leonardi donation 2004); Pierre Jacques Volaire, View of Solfatara (2005 purchase); the ‘Elephant’ nativity scene (Catello donation 2005).


Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Pope Paul III with his grandsons 1545-46 Pope Paul III, aged seventy seven years old, is portrayed between his grandsons Alessandro, appointed a cardinal at the age of fourteen years old, and Ottavio, the future duke, the 42  THE FARNESE GALLERY

sons of the Pope’s eldest son Pier Luigi Farnese, appointed by his father Duke of Parma and Piacenza in 1545, continuators of the family policy on both religious and secular fronts. Although it remained unfinished due to the changing political events of the period, the portrait commissioned by Alessandro in Rome in December 1545 is one of Titian’s masterpieces made for the Farnese family. [room 2]

Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Cardinal Alessandro Farnese 1545-46 Titian was extremely skilful at exploring the psyche of his patrons. He portrays Alessandro Farnese (15201589), the eldest son of Pierluigi, renowned for his diplomatic skills and enlightened patronage, not as a churchman but as an elegant gentleman, highlighting the affectation of the gloves. [room 2]


Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Pope Paul III bare-headed 1545-46


This was the first portrait of the Pope to be painted by Titian, the starting point of an artistic association with the Farnese family. The painting was done in Bologna to mark the meeting between the Pope and Emperor Charles V. [room 2]

Guglielmo della Porta (Porlezza? 1515 - Rome 1577) Bust of Pope Paul III 1546 A masterpiece of portraiture, the Pope is shown as an elderly man, wearing a cope decorated with plaquettes portraying the Crossing of the Red Sea, Moses receiving the Tablets of the Ten Commandments and Allegories. The drapery is fastened with a brooch decorated laterally by two winged chimeras and grotesque masks, a sophisticated piece of jewellery adapted from ancient designs. During his lengthy stay in the Farnese household, Guglielmo della Porta was one of the leading exponents of the self-celebratory policy of the Pope and his family. He was also the restorer of ancient works in the Farnese collection: he added the legs, which had been lost, to the famous work The Farnese Hercules. [room 2]


Raphael (Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520) Alessandro Farnese, future Pope Paul III 1509-11 Cardinal Farnese commissioned the “divine” Raphael to paint the work between 1509 and 1511 when, after being made Bishop of Parma, he began his rise to power under the protection of the Medici family, launching a ‘publicity campaign’ to boost his personal prestige and that of his family. [room 2]


Andrea del Sarto (Andrea d’Agnolo) (Florence 1486-1530) Leo X with two cardinals 1525 The painting is a copy of the famous portrait by Raphael (Florence, Uffizi Gallery). It was secretly ordered by Ottaviano de’ Medici and sent to Federico Gonzaga instead of the original which he had sent as a present to Clement VII. The Duke of Mantua, who did not realise the deception, remained perfectly satisfied. [room 2]


Masaccio (Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone Cassai) (San Giovanni Valdarno 1401 - Rome 1428) Crucifixion 1426 This was the uppermost panel of the polyptych made for the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa. The polyptych was dismantled at the end of the sixteenth century and is now divided between European and American museums. The painting was once the crowning piece of the complex. According to the principles of perspective, it provided a view which was drastically foreshortened from below, an effect conveyed by shortening the legs of the figure of Christ and sinking the head into the shoulders. This alluded to the heavy and painful humanity of a body which had been abandoned to its tragic destiny. Not part of the Farnese collection, the painting was purchased in 1901. [room 3]

Raphael (Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520) Moses in front of the burning bush c. 1514 Farnese collection

A fragment of the preparatory cartoon used for the detail of Moses for the fresco in the vault of the ‘Stanza di Eliodoro’ (Room of Heliodorus) in the Vatican. It originally belonged to Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of the Farnese household, who left it as a bequest to Cardinal Odoardo. [room 4]


Giovan Francesco Penni (Florence c.1488 Naples 1528) Our Lady of Divine Love c. 1518 Farnese collection Preparatory study for the oil painting on wood portraying the same theme [room 9] by Raphael and assistants. [room 4]


Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475 - Rome 1564) Group of soldiers c. 1546 The drawing was part of the preparatory cartoon for the monumental figures of the three soldiers in the fresco of the Crucifixion of St Peter in the Pauline chapel in the Vatican (1546-1550). It was restored in 1988. [room 4]


Masolino da Panicale (Tommaso di Cristoforo Fini) (Panicale in Valdarno 1383 - Florence 1440) Foundation of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome Assumption of the Virgin Mary c. 1428 They form the central part of a double-sided tryptych, 52  THE FARNESE GALLERY

which has been separated (the side panels are in London and Philadelphia). Masolino and Masaccio were commissioned in 1428 by Pope Martin V to do the tryptych for the Roman church of Santa Maria Maggiore ad nives, although the work was completed by Masolino on his own following the death of Masaccio (1428). The paintings depict the foundation of the church on the perimeter

revealed to Pope Liberius by a miraculous snowfall in August and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the elegant and precious forms of a return to fourteenth century international Gothic painting (also known as ‘court style’). [room 5]

Filippino Lippi (Prato c.1457 - Florence 1504) Annunciation and saints 1472-83

The scene is bathed in the sunlight of the Tuscan countryside, in the presence of St John the Baptist on the left and St Andrew on the right. In the background there is a view of Florence in which it is possible to recognise the dome of the church of Santa Maria Novella and Giotto’s bell tower. [room 6]


Raphael and assistant (Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520) Heavenly Father and the Virgin Mary c. 1500 The painting is an important piece of evidence for the early work of the young Raphael. The work portrays Glory of the Blessed Nicholas of Tolentino and was the central part of the polyptych for the church of Sant’Agostino in Città di 54  THE FARNESE GALLERY

Castello. Raphael and his assistant Evangelista di Pian di Meleto were commissioned to do the painting by Andrea Tommaso Baronci in 1500. It enered the Bourbon collections as a result of the purchase by Domenico Venuti in Rome. Venuti was responsible for recovering the artistic heritage of the Bourbons which had been plundered by the French during the Napoleonic decade (1806-1815). [room 6]

Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro Filipepi) (Florence 1445-1510) Virgin Mary and Child with angels 1468-69

Youthful masterpiece of the artist, inspired by the work of Filippino Lippi and Verrocchio. [room 6]


The Borgia collection

The Borgia collection which is on display in room 7, purchased partly by Ferdinand I of Bourbon in 1817 and devoted to a disparate range of objects which formed the collection of Cardinal Stefano Borgia, who in 1770 was appointed secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Thanks to his post, the prelate had contacts with Catholic missions all over the world, from which he obtained works, manuscripts and documents, and evidence of remote peoples: these ‘rarities’ of artistic, historical and ethnological importance came from European countries, Egypt, the Far East and Central America.


Syrian or Egyptian manufacture (first quarter of the 13th century) Celestial globe 1225

Manufactured in Seville? (c. 13th century) Planispherical astrolabe c. 1200

The Celestial globe is one of the oldest to survive. It consists of two hemispheres with engravings of the forty eight constellations of the earthly vault, encrusted with copper, and the stars, indicated by a silver point. Two inscriptions in Kufic script indicate the date of the work (622 in the Hirji calendar which corresponds to 1225 AD) and the name of the person who commissioned it. [room 7]

Instrument for astronomical observation used in navigation. Placed on a flat surface, it determines the position of the sun and the main stars according to the Ptolemaic system. [room 7]


Taddeo Gaddi (Florence 1290-1366) Virgin Mary and Child with St Peter, St Paul, St Anthony Abbot and St Augustine 1336 Portable altar, used for private worship, which takes up the theme of the famous Virgin Mary of Giotto (Florence, Uffizi Gallery) of 1310, the master of Gaddi, who was Giotto’s assistant for the master’s late works. [room 7] French manufacture (first half 16th century) Altar card c. 1535 This is an example of the tables placed at the centre of the altar, used from the 16th century onwards as an aide memoire for the celebrant, and entered the Borgia collection in 1799. The altar card, which comes from the monastery of Fontevrault, was commissioned by the Abbess Louise de Bourbon whose coat of arms is portrayed on it together with coats of arms of her niece Magdalene and Charles of Lorraine. It consists of three silk panels with golden embroidery of passages used during Mass and, on the central panel, three enamel plaquettes portraying the Nativity, the Crucifixion and Noli me tangere. [room 7] 58  THE BORGIA COLLECTION

Bartolomeo Vivarini (Murano c. 1432-post 1491) Virgin and Child with St Augustine, St Roch, St Ludwig of Toulouse and St Nicholas Above: St Dominic and Catherine of Alexandria, St Peter and a martyred saint 1465

The painting is full of decorative features, typical of the Vivarini workshop. The work reflects the artist’s interest in antiquarianism with Paduan influences, reflected in the choice of classical themes such as the throne of the Virgin Mary and the festoon with clusters of flowers on the arch. It

comes from the monastery of the Observants of Bari (suppressed by the French in 1813). Signed and dated. [room 8]


Andrea Mantegna (Isola di Carturo 1431 Mantua 1506) Saint Euphemia 1454 A part of the Borgia collection, the painting is an example of the early career of Andrea Mantegna who signed the work on the cartouche at the bottom. The decorative festoons, which recall the painting of Mantegna’s Paduan teacher Francesco Squarcione, decorate the arch which frames the saint in carefully executed perspective, the foreshortened view from below adds emphasis to the figure. It comes from the cathedral of Irsina, a town in Apulia, and was given to Cardinal Borgia in 1765-66 when the church was demolished to build the new cathedral. The painting was restored in 2004. [room 8]


Andrea Mantegna (Isola di Carturo 1431 Mantua 1506) Francesco Gonzaga 1460-62 The boy portrayed in the painting is the second son of the Duke of Mantua, born in 1444 and appointed cardinal in 1461. His identity was revealed by comparison with the portrait of Francesco in the fresco painted for the ‘Camera degli Sposi’ (Room of the Bride and Groom) in the Ducal Palace in Mantua. It used to be in the collection of the librarian of the Farnese household, Fulvio Orsini, before subsequently entering the family collection. [room 8]


Giovanni Bellini (Venice c. 1432 -1516) Transfiguration 1478-79 The artist’s signature is on the cartouche at the bottom of the painting. It a key example of Venetian painting, due to the treatment of the light, the humanity used to depict divine figures and the study of the landscape, set within a light and diffuse chromatic atmosphere. It 62  THE FARNESE GALLERY

has been suggested that the buildings in the background are the church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe and the mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna. The work entered the Farnese collections in 1644 and it could be the Transfiguration that used to be in the Fioccardo chapel in the cathedral of Vicenza. [room 8]

Lorenzo Lotto (Venice c. 1480 Loreto 1556) Bernardo de’ Rossi 1505 The portrait of the archbishop of Treviso was originally accompanied by a ‘coperta’ – a painting that was designed to cover the main theme – with an Allegory, the coat of arms of the prelate and an inscription on the back with the date 1505 (now in the Kress collection, National Gallery, Washington). [room 8]


Lorenzo Lotto (Venice c. 1480 - Loreto 1556) Virgin and Child with St Peter the Martyr 1503


The first clearly attributed work of the artist was commissioned by Bishop Bernardo de’ Rossi, his patron, as an ex voto, after escaping unscathed from a plot. It is signed at the bottom on the right and an inscription on the back bears the date 1503. In 1964, X-rays revealed that beneath the figure of St John the Baptist, added later, there is a figure in prayer portrayed in profile who can be identified as the bishop himself. [room 8]

Jacopo de’ Barbari (Venice? 1445 - c. 1515) Fra Luca Pacioli with a pupil (Guidobaldo da Montefeltro?) 1495 Fra Luca Pacioli was a Franciscan monk who was a great mathematician who studied the mathematics of perspective. He is portrayed studying Euclid’s El-

ements. On the table there is a compass, a protractor, chalk, a sponge, two solids, Euclid’s text and another volume, possibly Summa de Aritmetica, Geometria, Proportione et Proportionalità , published by Pacioli in Venice in 1494. Beside him there is a young man who may be Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, to whom the work of the Franciscan friar was dedicated. The

meaning of the transparent polyhedron hanging from a thread, with the reflected image of a building similar to the Ducal Palace of Urbino, remains enigmatic. Purchased by the Italian state for Capodimonte in 1903/4. The inscription on the cartouche reads “Iaco.Bar.Vigen/nis 1495 P.”. [room 8]


Sebastiano del Piombo (Sebastiano Luciani) (Venice 1485 - Rome 1547) Pope Clement VII 1526-27 Clement VII is portrayed before the sack of Rome in 1527 and therefore before he made his vow to let his beard grow. The colours used in the painting reflect a Venetian influence and create an imposing mass with a Michelangeloesque character. The analytical investigative capacities reflect the artist’s relationship with other members of the ‘style’ who were active in Rome, such as ‘il Rosso’ and ‘il Parmigianino’. The painting remained in the artist’s possession until his death. It was then purchased by Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of the Farnese household, and entered the family’s collection in 1600. [room 9]


Sebastiano del Piombo (Sebastiano Luciani) (Venice 1485 - Rome 1547) Our Lady of the Veil 1533-35 The painting uses the technique of oil on slate which is left exposed in the lower part of the composition. The figure of the Virgin draws on the Madonna of Loreto by Raphael although it is shown in mirror image. The Farnese family owned a copy of Raphael’s painting and del Piombo had copied it in around 1520 for Clement VII. In the 1530s, the artist returned to Rome and established a relationship of patronage with Pope Paul III. The fullness of the volumes and the spiritual melancholy of the work reveal the influence of Michelangelo on the Venetian painter. [room 9]


Giulio Romano (Giulio Pippi) (Rome c. 1490 - Mantua 1546) Virgin Mary with a cat c. 1523 Commissioned by Federico Gonzaga before the artist moved from Rome to Mantua in 1524, the painting is recorded during the sixteenth century as being in the collection of Barbara Sanseverino. Involved in the 1612 plot against the Farnese family, the Parma noblewoman’s property was confiscated and became part of the ducal collections. The group of the Virgin and Child, St Anna, St John the Baptist and St Joseph, who approach from the background, are portrayed in a domestic interior, which is shown by the household details (the sewing basket and the cat that gives the name to the painting and is ‘portrayed’ in the right hand corner) and in the details that reflect an antiquarian taste (the decoration of the 68  THE FARNESE GALLERY

fireplace and the cradle). [room 9] Raphael and assistants (Urbino 1483 - Rome 1520) Our Lady of Divine Love c. 1518 The surviving part of the composition is a study by Giovan Francesco Penni

[room 4], an assistant of Raphael’s who was probably involved in painting the work (possibly for Lionello da Carpi, mentioned by Vasari in his Life of Raphael). The painting was purchased by Alessandro Farnese in 1564. [room 9]



Marcello Venusti (Como 1512/15 - Rome 1579) Universal Judgment (taken from Michelangelo) c. 1550 Commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in 1549, the painting is the copy of the fresco of the Universal Judgment painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. It was done before the work undertaken to cover up the nudes ordered by the Council of Trent in 1564. [room 9] Fra Bartolomeo (Bartolomeo della Porta) (Florence 1472 - Pian di Mugnone 1517) Assumption of the Virgin Mary with St John the Baptist and St Catherine of Alexandria 1516 The painting is a good example of the large altarpieces done by the artist, influenced by Raphael with declamatory and emphatic poses. It was painted for the church of Santa Maria in Castello in Prato. [room 10] THE FARNESE GALLERY  71

Pontormo (Jacopo Carrucci) (Pontorme, Empoli, 1494 Florence 1556) Scene of a sacrifice c. 1520


The work uses the grisaille technique with egg tempera painted on canvas and then applied to a board. The painting portrays an enigmatic scene which has been interpreted as a sacrifice. The writing on the altar has been translated as either “to you the only God” or as “to you the Sun God”. [room 10]

Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanbattista di Jacopo) (Florence c. 1495 Fontainebleau 1540) Portrait of a gentleman c. 1527 The painting portrays an elegant young man in a stiff and haughty pose, seated on a small table covered by a precious carpet. This masterpiece of sixteenth century portraiture was previously in the collection of Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of the Farnese household, and later inher-

ited by Cardinal Odoardo. [room 10] Maso da San Friano (Tommaso Mazzuoli) (Florence c. 1532 -1571) Double male portrait 1556

painting seems to allude to the cultural education of a sixteenth century gentleman, which was supposed to include drawing and military engineering. Dated and signed with the monogram “TO”. [room 10]

The figures in the double portrait have been identified as Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, and Francesco De Marchi, a military architect from Milan who worked for the duke in 1551-52, portrayed during a drawing lesson. The THE FARNESE GALLERY  73

El Greco (Domenico Theotokopoulos) (Candia 1541 - Toledo 1614) Giulio Clovio c. 1570


After his stay in Venice, El Greco moved to Rome in 1570, where he stayed in the Farnese palace, thanks to the ‘introduction’ by Giulio Clovio, a miniaturist who worked for Cardinal Alessandro, the author of the famous Book of Hours (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library). The handling of the light and the depiction of the landscape in this portrait show the artist’s interest in great Venetian painting of the period. [room 11]

Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Portrait of a girl c. 1545 It has been argued that the girl in the painting should be identified as Angela, the young Roman courtesan who was the lover of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Originally hung in one of the rooms of the Farnese palace, the artist made a concerted effort to give her face a natural appearance. During the Second World War, the painting, which had been taken to Montecassino as a protective measure, was one of the works stolen by the Germans: it was eventually recovered at the end of the war in

the Austrian cave of Alt-Ausee, together with the painting Danae. [room 11] Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Repentant Mary Magdalene c. 1550 The theme was explored by the artist on several occasions. In this version, the painting follows the guidelines of the Council of Trent, toning down the sensuality implicit in the subject matter and highlights the details, such as the skull and the book, linked to the theme of penitence. The painting was sent to Alessandro Farnese in 1567. [room 11] THE FARNESE GALLERY  75

Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Danae 1545-46 The work was painted for the private rooms of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. It portrays the episode, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, of Danae, the daughter of the King of Argos, seduced by Jupiter in the form of a shower of golden rain. The face portrayed is probably that of Angela, a courtesan who was the cardinal’s lover. Titian completed the painting, which he began in Venice, in Rome in his studio in Palazzo Belvedere in the Vatican. Here it was seen by Michelangelo who praised its use of colour but criticised the ‘inadequacy’ of the drawing technique. In 1815, the erotism and provocative sensuality of the nude led the painting to be transferred to the “Gabinetto dei quadri osceni” (Room of obscene paintings) in the Royal Bourbon Museum. [room 11]



El Greco (Domenico Theotokopoulos) (Candia 1541 - Toledo 1614) El soplón (Boy blowing on an ember to light a candle) c. 1570-72 The theme of the boy blowing on the flame is drawn from a painting of Antipholus (a Greeek painter of the fourth century BC and a contemporary of Alexander the Great) which is mentioned by the ancient sources due to the wonderful effects of light. The classical model is reinterpreted on the basis of the traditions of Venetian painting to study the lighting effects on a face illuminated by a powerful light source. The work was painted during El Greco’s stay in the Farnese palace in Rome (1570-72). [room 11]


Palma the Elder (Jacopo Negretti) (Serina, Bergamo, c. 1480 Venice 1528) Sacred conversation and patrons c. 1525

The work comes from the collection of Domenico Barbaja, a famous impresario of the San Carlo Opera House, and purchased by the Bourbons in 1841. The painting is an example of the numerous Sacred Conversations painted by Palma the Elder. The characteristic features of his work included calm dialogue between the characters, the large swathes of colour and by a sumptuous and opulent model of female beauty which would ensure the great commercial success of the artist. [room 11]


Pordenone (Giovan Antonio de Sacchis) (Pordenone c. 1483 Ferrara 1539) Disputation on the Immaculate Conception 1529-30 The work comes from the Pallavicini chapel in the church of Santa Maria Annunciata in Cortemaggiore, Emilia. It depicts the four Church Fathers – Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory – who are shown discussing the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Greatly admired by the Farnese family, the work is mentioned in an inventory of the collection compiled in 1644. [room 11]


Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Correggio 1489-1534) The gipsy girl (Virgin and Child) c. 1515-16 The painting, which is small and probably incomplete, portrays a moment of rest on the flight into Egypt. The work comes from the collection of Ranuccio Farnese. [room 12]


work at Rome and the mannerist style of Domenico Beccafumi. [room 12] Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Parma 1503 Casalmaggiore 1540) Galeazzo Sanvitale 1524

Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Correggio 1489-1534) Mystic marriage of St Catherine c. 1517-18 The painting used to be in the collection of Barbara Sanseverino but was confiscated after the noble82  THE FARNESE GALLERY

woman’s involvement in the plot in Parma against the Farnese family (1612). The artist, whose style had moved on from his early work linked to the cultural environment of the school of Mantegna and the influences of Bolognese and Leonardoesque traditions, shows his debt to Raphael’s

The work dates to the period when the artist was involved in the decoration, inspired by the myth of Actaeon, of the ‘bathroom’ of Castle Sanvitale at Fontanellato (1523-24). The spatial ambiguity of the figure, seated frontally on a chair that is diagonally foreshortened, and the light that is refracted on concave and convex bodies, reveal the restless style of Parmigianino who had reached his artistic maturity. The painting, which was purchased by Ottavio Farnese in 1561, is signed and dated on the back. [room 12]

Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Parma 1503 Casalmaggiore 1540) Portrait of a young woman (Antea) 1524-27/1530-35 The figure in the portrait has been identified as Antea, the courtesan who became the artist’s lover during his stay in Rome. The enigmatic young woman, with her appearance of virginal purity and her unusual clothing, is one of the iconic images of Italian mannerism. [room 12]

Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Parma 1503 Casalmaggiore 1540) Holy family with St John the Baptist c. 1524-27 The work was probably painted in the period 152527 during his stay in Rome where he was influenced 84  THE FARNESE GALLERY

by Raphael’s classicism. During this phase Parmigianino forged close ties with the restless ‘spirit of rebellion’ of Perin del Vaga and Polidoro da Caravaggio. [room 12]

Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Parma 1503 Casalmaggiore 1540) Lucretia A masterpiece of the last phase of Parmigianino’s career, the work portrays the Roman noblewoman Lucretia, who was raped by Tarquin the Proud, the last king of Rome. She is shown taking her life by stabbing herself in the heart with a dagger. [room 12]


Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (Viadana c. 1500 Parma 1569) Portrait of a tailor c. 1540-45 The tailor, a member of the ‘middle classes’, is portrayed in an informal way. The portrait is enhanced by the flecks of light on his beard, the rich fabric in the foreground and by the detail of his work tools which are highlighted by the artist. Originally in the Sanvitale collection, the work entered the Farnese collection after the confiscations following the 1612 plot. [room 12]


Sofonisba Anguissola (Cremona c. 1531 - Palermo 1626) Self-portrait of the artist playing a spinet c. 1555-59


The painting was originally in the collection of Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of the Farnese household, before being inherited by Cardinal Odoardo. The young painter, one of the few women artists whose life and work is well-known, is portrayed in an everyday domestic environment. [room 12]

Jacques de Backer (Antwerp c. 1545 - c. 1600) Lust 1570-75

The work is part of the series of the seven deadly sins: avarice, lust, rage, sloth, arrogance, greed and envy. Each sin is portrayed in a painting whose iconography encapsulates the distinctive aspects of the vice. The allegorical portrayal is shown in the foreground. Lust shows a man and a woman embracing each other while episodes taken from the Old and New Testament are illustrated in the background. [room 12]


Jan Sons (’s Hertogenbosch c. 1548 Parma 1611) Cebetis Thebani Tabula before 1587


Inspired by the contents of Tabula Cebetis, a treatise on human life by the philosopher Cebetus Thebanus (1st century BC). Beside the gate of life, the philosopher indicates the path to two travellers within concentric walls which lead, between portrayals of vices and virtues, to a hill on which the personification of Wisdom is seated. The work is mentioned in the Farnese collections at Parma from 1587. [room 13]

Jan Sons (’s Hertogenbosch c. 1548 Parma 1611) Bacchus and Ariadne c. 1580-90 The work is part of a decorative cycle of eleven paintings with a mythological theme which adorned the ceiling of the one of the Farnese residences in Parma, possibly the ducal palace. Like other Flemish painters who came to Rome at the end of the sixteenth century, the artist combined his experience of Roman mannerism, including influences from the traditions of Veneto and Parma, with his northern European stylistic language. [room 13]


The Gallery of rare things

The striking display cases contain a significant part of the collections of miniatures, small bronzes (Giambologna’s bronzes are particularly famous), works of majolica, ivory and crystal, coins, gems, medals and other‘curios’or pieces of jewellery (such as the Farnese Casket or Diana the Huntress) which, from the sixteenth century onwards, supplemented the Farnese collections, renowned throughout Europe. The display includes a spectacular example of the Wunderkammer, the ‘room of wonders’ which, in early collections, was designed to astonish and fascinate visitors.


Johann Michael Maucher (Schwäbisch Gmünd 1645 Würzburg c. 1700) Ceremonial dish Jug second half of the 17th century

The objects reflect the baroque taste for the curious and the bizarre. They also show the use of ivory and deer antler in carving, a technique widely used by German carvers. The work of the engraver Johann Michael Maucher was particularly sought after. [room 14]


Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Siena 1439 - 1502) David 1470-75 This is one of the most interesting works in the collection of Farnese bronzes. Its unusual iconography is a mixture of the medieval vision of David, portrayed as an elderly bearded prophet, with the Renaissance vision introduced by Donatello which depicts him standing or resting, a 94  THE GALLERY OF RARE THINGS

young and heroic victor. [room 14] Giambologna (Jean de Boulogne) (Douai 1529 - Florence 1608) Mercury c. 1578 The work is taken from a bronze of the same subject (Florence, Museo del Bargello) and is mentioned in a letter sent by the sculptor to Ottavio Farnese on 13 June 1579. As further evidence of the popular-

ity of the theme, Giambologna was commissioned to make another statue (probably the one now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna) in 1564 by Cosimo I de’ Medici as a gift for Emperor Maximilian II. [room 14]

Manno di Bastiano Sbarri (Florence, information until 1563) Giovanni Bernardi (Castelbolognese 1494 Faenza 1553) Farnese casket 1548-61 A masterpiece of mannerist jewellery, the casket was commissioned in 1548 by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese to keep precious books and manuscripts. It was later given as a present to Maria of Portugal

for her wedding with the Cardinal’s grandson, Alessandro, the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese. Made of silver gilt with lapis lazuli and enamel, the casket was decorated by Manno di Bastiano Sbarri with intricate repoussé and chasing, portraying herms, nudes and garlands which frame the rock crystal ovals made by Giovanni Bernardi. The six carved plaquettes portray the Battle of the Amazons and the Battle of the Centaurs on the front; the

Naval battle on the left; the Calydonian boar hunt and the Triumph of Bacchus on the back; the Chariot race in the circus on the right. The decoration is completed with the deities in the four corners of the casket and the figure of Hercules on the lid. The portrayal of the deeds of Alexander the Great on the inside of the casket alludes to the achievements of Alessandro Farnese. [room 14]


Made in Goa or Cochin Cup of Costantino di Braganza 1558-65 In great demand due to its supposed aphrodisiac qualities, rhinoceros horn was often used as to make a ‘lovers’ cup’. The cup in the Farnese collection is decorated with amatory scenes and figures of carved animals. It was the wedding present given to Maria of Portugal by her uncle, Costantino di Braganza, the Portuguese viceroy in India who commissioned a local craftsman to make the cup. [room 14]


Workshop of the Castelli d’Abruzzo Blue majolica dishes with gold heightening 1574-89 The dinner service is made of blue majolica (a type known as “turchine” or deep blue), with gold heightening and the coat of arms of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese at the centre of the dishes. It was made in several stages by the workshops of Castelli between 1574 and 1589, the year of the cardinal’s death. The majolica service, of which there are seventy two pieces in the Museum of Capodimonte, is the first dated evidence of majolica

with gold appliqué, a technique that was familiar to the artisans at Castelli and was handed down from generation to generation until the eighteenth century. [room 14]

Giovan Bernardino Azzolino (Cefalù c. 1572 - Naples 1645) Damned soul late 16th-mid 17th century

The head made of wax, together with the portrayal of the Hopeful soul, continues the late sixteenth century production of “Novissimi”, wax heads that represented death, judgment, hell and paradise. [room 14]


Giovanni Bernardi (Castelbolognese 1494 Faenza 1553) Augustus and the Sybil c. 1535 Together with other crystal glasses, this glass was part of the private altar of Pope Paul III and reflects the spread, during the first few decades of the sixteenth cen98  THE GALLERY OF RARE THINGS

tury, of the Christian legend of Ara Coeli (Heavenly Altar). The legend hands down the prediction of the Tiburtine Sybil, who was consulted by Augustus, about the birth of a Child who was greater than all the Roman gods. [room 14]

Jacob Miller the Elder (Augsburg? 1548 - 1618) Diana the huntress astride a stag c. 1610 This ‘dining table trophy’ made of silver gilt, beautifully decorated for lavishly laid tables, was used to serve fine wines. The device moves due to

the mechanism in the base, while the stag’s head, which is removable, was used as a lid and a cup. It was the work of the goldsmith from Augsburg, signed “J.M.”, and is one of the most refined pieces of late mannerist jewellery produced for the magnificent and ostentatious European courts. [room 14] THE GALLERY OF RARE THINGS  99

Bernardino Luini (Dumenza 1484/5 ? Milan 1531/32) Virgin and Child c. 1520

atmosphere influenced by Bramantino and, above all, Leonardo, of whom Luini was a faithful interpreter. [room 16]

The soft and luminous shaping and the subtly melancholic expression of the face are typical features of the artist’s portrayals of the Virgin Mary. They were widely appreciated by nineteenth century critics due to the intimate contemplative

Konrad Witz (workshop?) (Rotweil c. 1400/10 Geneva or Basle 1444/46) Sacred conversation 1446-48


Possibly made by the Witz workshop in Basle, the painting is considered to be

a copy of an original by the Swiss master. A distinctive feature of the work is the distorted perspective, as if seen in a convex mirror, and the bright colours with warm tones. The painting was bought by the Farnese family in 1713 as the work of Dürer. [room 17]

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Breda c. 1525 - Brussels 1569) Misanthrope 1568 The work illustrates the Flemish proverb at the bottom of the painting which reads “Since the world is so treacherous, I am in mourn-

ing”. The circle possibly encloses the enigmatic image of the misanthrope who escapes from the deceitful world which steals his purse, according to the classic interpretation of the theme taken from Erasmus of Rotterdam. Signed and dated 1568, the work was part of the collection of Cosimo

Masi, the secretary of Alessandro Farnese in Flanders, and then of Cosimo’s son Giovanni Battista, expropriated due to his involvement in the Parma plot against the Farnese family (1612). [room 17]


Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Breda c. 1525 - Brussels 1569) The parable of the blind leading the blind 1568 The painting draws on the parable in the New Testament (“And if one blind man leads another, both shall fall into a pit”), a theme related to the humanism of Erasmus of Rotterdam. In the background, it is possible to recognise the church of the village of Pede-Sainte-Anne near Brussels. Like the Misanthrope, the work is signed and dated. It was part of the collection of Cosimo Masi, which was confiscated by the Farnese family from Masi’s son Giovanni Battista in 1612. [room 17]



Joos van Cleve (Antwerp c. 1485 - 1540/41) Adoration of the magi c. 1515


This ‘foldable’ tryptych, whose side panels are also painted on the back, can be dated, like the Crucifixion on display in the same room, to the mature phase of the artist’s career. The painting was purchased by the Bourbons, possibly from the collection of the Ruffo della Scaletta family in 1802. [room 17]

Bernart van Orley (Brussels c. 1488-1542) Charles V c. 1516 A portrait of Charles of Hapsburg, the son of Philip the Fair and Joanna the Mad, aged fifteen or sixteen years old, before he was crowned King of Spain (1516). The future protagonist of the destiny of Europe, elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, shows off the precious Golden Fleece collar. [room 17]


Joachim Beuckelaer (Antwerp c. 1535-1574) Market in the square 1566 In the series of six paintings devoted to markets, which come from the Farnese collection in Parma, the artist employs the same structure with few variations: monumental figures and a market teeming with goods are depicted in the foreground while the background generally features a landscape or, in some cases a religious 106  THE FARNESE GALLERY

episode (the Calling of St Matthew is portrayed here). Scenes of everyday life were a popular genre with sixteenth century collectors and, in order to meet the numerous requests, Beuckelaer specialised in portraying markets, countryside scenes and kitchen interiors, full of food, crockery and animals. During the seventeenth century these themes would become the protagonists of still life painting. The work is dated. [room 18]

Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560 - Rome 1609) Mystic wedding of St Catherine c. 1585 The painting was done in 1585 for Duke Ranuccio Farnese who later gave it to his brother Cardinal Odoardo. According to the sources, the work was brought to Rome by Carracci himself in 1595; the work is proof of the artist’s skill at imitating the styles of Correggio and Raphael. [room 19]

Agostino Carracci (Bologna 1557 - Parma 1602) Arrigo Peloso, Pietro Matto and Amon Nano c. 1598 The painting was probably done in Rome and commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese. The work portrays three characters from his Roman court: the court jester Pietro, the dwarf Rodomonte and the savage from the Canaries, Arrigo 108  THE FARNESE GALLERY

Gonzalez. Despite the precision in the portrayal of the clothing, Carracci manages to convey the relationship between humans and animals with such humanity and sympathy that he transforms the painting into a lively ‘genre’ scene. The work was painted for the family palace in via Giulia. [room 19]

Ludovico Carracci (Bologna 1555-1619) Rinaldo and Armida 1593 The theme is taken from Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (Canto 16): Rinaldo, in the wood of the Fortunate Isles, holds the mirror up for the enchantress Armida, while his companions, Carlo and Ubaldo, accompanied by Cupid to bring him back to the Christian camp, spy on him. The literary and narrative tone and the gracefulness of the theme suggest the work was done for the ducal court in Parma, where Ludovico Carracci had gone to work on the decoration of the catafalque of Alessandro Farnese. The painting is dated. [room 19]


Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560 - Rome 1609) Hercules at the crossroads 1596 This is the dilemma of Hercules in the choice between Virtue who points to the rugged path of glory to reach Pegasus, the winged horse that would take him to paradise, and Vice, the voluptuous female figure portrayed in the classical mould, who indicates the ‘flat road’ of earthly pleasure, involving playing cards, theatrical masks and musical instruments. Painted for Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, the work was situated at the centre of the ceiling of the ‘Camerino di Ercole’ in the family palace in Rome. [room 20]



Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560 - Rome 1609) Pietà 1599-1600


The monumental pyramidal composition, together with the delicate pose of the body of Christ, displays the reuse of an excellent marble model, Michelangelo’s Pietà in the Vatican whose dramatic

nature is accentuated by the darker shades of colour. The work was commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese. [room 20]

Giovanni Lanfranco (Terenzo 1582 - Rome 1647) Assumption of Mary Magdalene c. 1616-17 The work formed part of the decoration of the ceiling of the “camerino degli Eremiti”, consisting of nine panels, in the small palace in via Giulia. The nude of the saint, realistically portrayed with a feeling of heaviness and supported by three putti, hovers in an atmospheric landscape portrayed from a bird’s eye view, dominated by strong contrasts between light and shade and by cold tones. [room 20]


ism and the bright colours, where the light emphasises the details and the drapery. [room 21] Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri) (Bologna 1581 - Naples 1641) Guardian angel 1615

Bartolomeo Schedoni (Formigine 1578 - Parma 1615) Charity 1611 114  THE FARNESE GALLERY

The artist was in the service of Duke Ranuccio I Farnese. The work is one of the artist’s most famous paintings due to the crude real-

Signed and dated, the painting portrays the cult of the guardian angel which had originated with the Counter-Reformation and had been supported and promoted by the Jesuits during the seventeenth century. Painted for the Vanni chapel in the church of San Francesco in Palermo, the greyhound rampant portrayed on the front of the altar is the coat of arms of the family that commissioned the work. In the late eighteenth century it was given to King Ferdinand of Bourbon and later taken to Rome by the French in 1799, with its upper part shortened. Once it was recovered, the restoration work was undertaken by the court restorer Federico Anders. [room 22]


Bedroom of Francis I and Maria Isabella of Spain 1829-30 The small alcove decorated in the Pompeian style originated from a design by Antonio Niccolini, with painted decoration by Gennaro Bisogni, Salvatore Giusti and Gennaro Maldarelli. There was originally an alcove in the centre of the room with tapestries designed by Niccolini himself. [room 23] Real Opificio delle pietre dure di Napoli (1737-1861) Small table 1811-35 The surface of the table, decorated with a chessboard, rests on two figures, winged genii, inspired by ancient mythology. [room 23]


(Taken from) Pieter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640) St George and the dragon after 1603 The work is an old copy of a painting by Rubens, datable to about 1602-1603 and painted during the first years of his stay in Mantua. The painting comes from the Farnese collection. [room 24]


Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641) Crucifix 1621-32 Between 1621 and 1632 van Dyck painted several Crucifixes which were designed for private worship. They met with such success that various copies were made. The dark tones of the landscape and the sky are juxtaposed with the pale figure of Christ, while the drapery of the white loincloth contrasts with the red of the blood, a characteristic feature of crude realism. [room 24]


Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) Atlanta and Hippomenes c. 1620-25


Atlanta, the virgin huntress, was reluctant to marry and challenged her suitors to a race; they were always defeated and were destined to die: Hippomenes dropped the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides, thanks to the intervention of Aphrodite, and outran Atlanta. Reni portrays the climax of the myth told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses. [room 27]

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-1642) The four seasons 1617-20 The allegory, with its refined colours and elegant composition, was commissioned by an “embroiderer” from Bologna in 161720. In 1638 Reni bought back the painting for 350 scudi and sold it for twice the price to Cardinal Bernardino Spada whose nephew Orazio later presented it as a gift

(1672) to Pope Clement X. It was finally bought by Domenico Venuti on behalf of the Bourbons in 1802. In 1926 it was used to furnish the Chamber of Deputies and made its definitive return to Capodimonte in 1999. [room 27]


Carlo Saraceni (Venice 1580-1620) Fall of Icarus c. 1606-7 The work is part of a group of six small landscapes painted on copper with mythological scenes inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Flight of Icarus, Burial of Icarus, Salamacis and Hermaphroditus, Ganymede abducted by the eagle, Ariadne abandoned by Theseus). They were painted dur122  THE FARNESE GALLERY

ing the artist’s stay in Rome and were commissioned by the Farnese family, possibly for a room in the family palace. The scene with the Fall of Icarus is the crucial moment of the myth of the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus: they escaped from the labyrinth that Daedalus had built for Minos, and in which they had been imprisoned, thanks to the wings the architect had made with bird feathers and wax. However, Daedalus

witnessed the death of his son as he flew too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt. The Venetian origin of the artist is shown by his preference for details of nature, portrayed with careful attention to the effects of light and atmosphere, together with influences of the northern landscape painting of Adam Elsheimer who was active in Rome in the early seventeenth century. [room 29]

Lorrain (Claude GelleĂŠ) (Chamagne 1600 - Rome 1682) Landscape with the nymph Egeria 1669

The nymph Egeria weeps at the death of her bridegroom Numa Pompilio, the first legendary king of Rome, as Ovid describes in the Metamorphoses. The ancient Roman myth is portrayed in the Roman countryside, creating an elegiac and idyllic atmosphere reminiscent of the lake of Nemi and the hills of Marino, the feud of the Colonna family who commissioned the painting (1669). The work entered the Bourbon collections following the purchase by Domenico Venuti in 1800. [room 29] THE FARNESE GALLERY  123

Bernardo Bellotto (Venice 1721 - Warsaw 1780) A view of Vaprio and Canonica, looking southwards from the west bank of the river Adda c. 1744

Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712-1793) The bridge of Rialto View of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore c. 1770-80

The painting belongs to the early phase of Belotto’s career. After leaving Venice and finishing his apprenticeship with his uncle – Canaletto – and his training in Rome, the artist went to Lombardy and Piedmont, where he received important commissions. The painting was donated by Bianca De Feo Leonardi and Antonino Leonardi (2004). [room 29]

The small format of the paintings emphasises the series of foreshortened views and atmospheric light. The painting was donated by Bianca De Feo Leonardi and Antonino Leonardi (2004). [room 29]



Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659 - Venice 1734) The Virgin intercedes for the souls in Purgatory c. 1730 The airy compositional structure and the range of colour, which fades into a pearly transparency, are characteristic features of the artist’s tendency to focus on sophisticated decoration. [room 30]


The Royal Apartment

The rooms of the royal family draw on the ‘Gran galleria dei ritratti’ (Grand Portrait Gallery) built by Ferdinand II of Bourbon to ‘recount’ the Bourbon dynasty through official portraits of the sovereigns: the portrait of Ferdinand IV as young boy by Anton Raphael Mengs is displayed next to the two paintings by Francisco Goya portraying the Spanish monarchs Charles IV and Maria Luisa; the equestrian portraits of Charles of Bourbon and Maria Amalia of Saxony by Francesco Liani, the paintings by Angelica Kauffmann and by Giuseppe Cammarano portraying The family of Ferdinand IV and The family of Francis I. The ballroom confirms the theatrical talent of Niccolini, with elegant decorative motifs taken from the repertoire of Herculaneum and Pompeii with sumptuous tapestries. Paintings by French artists and furnishings from the royal residences of France reflect, as well as providing further decoration of the royal apartments, the “French decade” (1805-1815), when the palace became the main residence of the new sovereigns. The heart of the royal apartment is the Porcelain room [room 52], the last undertaking of the factory of Capodimonte, remounted in the palace in Naples in 1866. Designed by the court stage designer Giovan Battista Natali, it was originally built, under the supervision of Giuseppe Gricci between1757 and 1759, for the private apartments of Maria Amalia of Saxony in the Royal Palace in Portici: it is a kaleidoscope of panels porcelain, attached to wooden supports, inspired by the fashion for chinoseries, with festoons, cartouches and figurines with oriental costumes.

The royal apartment   127

Sala della Culla (Cradle room) The name recalls the cradle designed by Domenico Morelli and Ignazio Perricci donated in 1869 by the city of Naples to the Savoys to celebrate the birth of Victor Emmanuel III, while it is referred to in older inventories as the gran galleria color cece (chickpea coloured 128  The royal apartment

great gallery). The ancient Roman marble floor comes from a villa of Tiberius’ in Capri: rediscovered in 1788, it was transferred to Capodimonte in 1877 from Villa Favorita in Resina (Ercolano) while Annibale Sacco was director. [room 31]

Real fabbrica della porcellana (Royal Porcelain Factory), Naples (1771-1806) Clock 1796-1806 Made for the apartments of Palazzo Reale (the royal palace) in Naples, it is part

of a series of four clocks (although the last one was not assembled) designed for the apartments of the crown prince Francesco for his wedding with Maria Clementina of Austria (1797). The initials FC on the back of the pendulum refer to the royal bride and bridegroom. The clock housing, possibly made in Rome, with rare marble and chased gilt bronze,

is framed by Egyptian telamons, a support for the shelves on which the allegory of the War with Egyptian canopian vases forms the crowning piece. [room 31]

The royal apartment  129

Vincenzo Camuccini (Rome 1771-1844) Ptolemy Philadelphus in the library of Alexandria 1811 The painting was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte for the central hall of the Quirinale palace in Rome with its companion painting – Charlemagne orders the foundation of the University of Paris – and were destined for 130  The royal apartment

Capodimonte by Joachim Murat (King of Naples from 1806 to 1815). In 1867 they were transferred to the Palazzo reale (royal palace) before going to Rome as a sub-consignment to the Chamber of Deputies. Lastly, in 1997, they were returned to Capodimonte where they are on display in their original place. [room 31]

Antonio Sebastiani (Caprarola ? - Naples 1752) Charles of bourbon in hunting clothing 1732-34 The future king of Naples is portrayed during his stay in the Duchy of Parma or at the start of his reign in hunting clothing: the real passion of the sovereign and one of the main reasons for the construction of the palace of Capodimonte. The artist, who came to Naples as court painter as part of Charles’ entourage, worked on the decoration of the royal palace and painted many official portraits of the king, a rather modest ‘mass-produced’ work to be sent to the diplomatic offices of the Kingdom. [room 32]

The royal apartment  131

clock are engraved with the royal coat of arms of Poland. [room 32] Giovanni Paolo Panini (Piacenza c. 1691 - Rome 1765) Charles of Bourbon visiting Pope Benedict XIV in the coffee house of the Quirinale Charles of Bourbon visiting St Peter’s basilica 1746

Joseph Martinau (active in London between 1744 and 1794) Clock c. 1755 A work of exceptional quality, one of the most important examples of English rococo, it is in the shape of a Chinese temple, and the housing is made of briarwood mahogany. The large 132  The royal apartment

clock is decorated in gilt bronze with mythological figures, tritons and nereids, and imaginary animals. The chinoiserie crowning features a figure and a putto included in a series of phytomorph elements. It may have belonged to Queen Maria Amalia, who received it as a gift from her parents. Moulded brass plates on the sides of the

Charles of Bourbon commissioned the paintings from the painter who was famous for his skill as a ‘chronicler’ of the most important political events of the time. The paintings were designed to celebrate his visit to Rome after the victory at Velletri against the Austrians (1744) which sealed the political power of the young sovereign. [room 32]

L’appartamento reale  133

Antonio Joli (Modena c. 1700 Naples 1777)

134  The royal apartment

Departure of Charles for Spain viewed from the land Departure of Charles for Spain viewed from the sea 1759

The paintings illustrate the departure of Charles of Bourbon for Spain in twofold perspective, from the land and from the sea. In

1759, following the death of his elder brothers, Charles became King of Spain and left the throne of Naples to his son Ferdinand. To celebrate the event, the Neapolitan court commissioned the famous landscape artist to do the two paintings. The two themes were copied several times at the request of other European courts. [room 33] Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728 - Rome 1779) Ferdinand IV c. 1759 The first official portrait of Ferdinand IV after the abdication of Charles of Bourbon when he became King of Spain. The artist also painted another version (1760) of the same portrait, which was sent to Ferdinand’s parents in Madrid. The distinctive feature of the work is the way the artist uses his technical prowess and skill in creating a celebratory image, conforming perfectly to the contemporary needs of the state portrait, of the

young nine year old monarch with the royal coats of arms clearly shown. [room 33] The royal apartment  135

Royal craftsmen Sedan chair Naples, second half of the 18th century It is decorated with romantic scenes, attributed to Giacinto Diano (Naples 1696-1782), painted on a gilded background. Lavishly decorated sedan chairs and coaches were very popular in the eighteenth century. In Naples they were famous for the taste for ornamentation, laquer or painting often entrusted to leading artists such as Filippo Falciatore, Francesco

De Mura, Fedele Fischetti or Francesco Solimena. [room 33]

136  The royal apartment

Antonio Joli (Modena c. 1700 - Naples 1777) Ferdinand IV on horseback with his court c. 1760

Ferdinand IV is portrayed going for a ride on his horse from the palace with court dignitaries. The palace, which was being built, is shown with large windows on the mezzanine floor and the main floor, instead of balconies, still surrounded

by level ground and not by gardens. The background of the painting is the panorama of the city, which extends to the hill of San Martino, and the bay. [room 33]

The royal apartment  137

Francesco Liani (Fidenza 1712/14 - Naples after 1780) Equestrian portrait of Charles of Bourbon c. 1755-59 138  The royal apartment

Together with the companion painting, which portrays Queen Maria Amalia, the work was painted during the last years of the reign of Charles in Naples. [room 34]

Francisco Goya (Fuendetodos 1746 - Bordeaux 1828) Maria Luisa of Parma Charles IV c. 1790

Probably part of the private art gallery of Queen Maria Isabella of Spain, daughter of Charles IV and Maria Luisa and wife of Francis I. As court painter, Goya painted numerous portraits of sovereigns and the royal family with ruthless realism which highlights physical and psychological traits. [room 34] The royal apartment  139


The Porcelain Gallery

Rooms 35 and 36 – the Porcelain Gallery – contain displays of a selection of famous porcelain made in Naples and Europe, taken from the Bourbon collections. The display cases on the right wall [rooms 35-36] are entirely devoted to the Sevizio dell’oca (Goose service), highlighting the dishes that have views of Naples and the kingdom. The showcases on the left display the products of the ‘Real Fabbrica di Napoli’ [room 35] and European porcelain [room 36].


Real fabbrica della porcellana, Naples (1771-1806) ‘Servizio dell’oca’ or Dining service with views Cooler and oval soup tureen 1793-95 The dinner service, made especially for the royal family, was an impressive set of porcelain embellished with miniatures taken from views of Neapolitan buildings and views, drawing on contemporary prints of Neapolitan and foreign artists: for


the whole of the nineteenth century, it was known as the “Servizio delle vedute Napolitane” (Service of views of Naples). The dishes – which number 347 pieces – are completed with figures in full relief inspired by ancient prototypes from the Farnese collections and the collections of Herculaneum. The small putto strangling the goose – on the top of the lid of several soup tureens – that gives the service its name, is taken from a Hellenistic sculpture kept in the ‘Musei Capitolini’ in Rome. [rooms 35-36]

Real fabbrica della porcellana, Naples (1771-1806) Filippo Tagliolini (Fogliano di Cascia 1745 Naples 1809) Triumph of Bacchus and Silenus c. 1804 This centrepiece consists of two pieces: the upper group of Bacchus and Silenus, taken from an ancient sculpture kept at Villa Borghese in the eighteenth century, and the lower one with a dancing faun, a dionysian priest and a maenad with a leopard (an animal sacred to Apollo). It was a popular theme and several copies were produced of which five are in Capodimonte and the Museum of San Martino. [room 35]


Imperial Vienna Porcelain Factory (1717-1864) Plates 1793-1801


They are part of a déjeuner service which was a gift from Maria Carolina to her husband Ferdinand, sent from Vienna during the queen’s stay there (1800-1801), consisting of pieces made at different times. The views of Naples and Vienna that decorate the porcelain are taken from engravings and paintings by artists of the period who specialised in views. [room 36]

Angelica Kauffman (Chur 1741 - Rome 1807) The family of Ferdinand IV of Naples 1782-83 Painted during the German artist’s stay in Naples between 1782 and 1783, the work portrays Ferdinand IV and Queen Maria Carolina with their children. The roy-

al family are shown wearing civilian rather than court clothes and in informal poses. They are portrayed in a lush landscape, emphasising the symbolic relationship with the fertility and harmony of the royal family and Campania felix, the name given to Naples and the surrounding area in the classical period.

The link with the ancient world is emphasised by a large vase decorated ‘in the ancient style’, placed on a plinth. The composition and the arrangement of the figures show the stylistic relationship with works on the same theme by English artists. [room 37]


The De Ciccio collection

In 1958, the collections of the Museum of Capodimonte were enlarged by the addition of about 1,300 precious objects, paintings, small bronzes, ceramics and porcelain donated by Mario De Ciccio, a keen collector of works of applied art. The collection, which was built up over about fifty years of research and acquisitions, includes works bought in Palermo, De Ciccio’s native city, and Naples, which became his adoptive ‘homeland’ in 1906, and leading international art markets.


Workshop of Orazio Fontana (Urbino c. 1560-1570) Cooler 1560-1570 Active in Urbino between 1560 and 1570, the Fontana workshop was in the service of the della Rovere family, lords of the city. The workshop produced ceremonial services consisting of serving dishes, basins, jugs and coolers with similar styles: three leonine handles on a circular basin, with lavish painted decoration with grotesque figures and a scene in the cup, often taken from contemporary drawings or paintings. [rooms 38-41]

Made by Meissen (1710 - to the present) Jug c. 1725-30 Meissen was the first factory to produce hard-paste porcelain and was set up by order of Augustus of Saxony, father of Maria Amalia, later wife of Charles and queen of Naples. The factory’s first products were inspired by copies of oriental pieces, in particular Japanese porcelain, which were collected by the sovereign who was keen on objects in the ‘Chinese’ style. The decoration with friezes and scenes from Chinese life influenced all producers of porcelain in Europe until the mid-eighteenth century. [rooms 38-41] THE DE CICCIO COLLECTION  147

Real fabbrica della porcellana di Capodimonte (Royal Porcelain Factory), Naples (1743-59) Seller of busts and ceramics 1750-52


This is part of a numerous series of statuettes devoted to street sellers who enlivened the streets of Naples with their picturesque appearance and their cries. The series, designed by the chief sculptor of the factory of Capodimonte Giuseppe Gricci (Florence?

- Madrid 1770), was known as “gridi” (cries) or “voci di Napoli” (voices of Naples) and contributed to confirming Capodimonte ‘s reputation as one of the most important porcelain factories of the eighteenth century. [rooms 38-41]

Antonio Niccolini (San Miniato 1772 - Naples 1850) Ballroom c. 1828 The painted decoration of the ballroom (1835-38) is by Salvatore Giusti, a pupil of Philipp Hackert, based on the design of Antonio Niccolini, the court architect and stage designer. The decoration was inspired by the paintings ‘rediscovered at Herculaneum and Pompeii thanks to the archaeological excavations promoted by the Bourbons from 1738 onwards. The most magnificent room in the palace was the expression of the

rich and spectacular decorative system ordered by Ferdinand II for the state rooms. The floor, decorated with geometric patterns and Sicilian marble with white marble inlay, was also designed by Niccolini. The original furnishings of the room include the mirrors, the crystal chandeliers, the neoclassical style divans with a crossed lance pattern, probably designed by the architect. The wall tables, made in 1838 by the carver Vincenzo Biangardi and the gilder Giuseppe de Paola, come from the ancient “Galleria dei ritratti” (portrait gallery) of the palace. [room 42] The royal apartment  149

Pierre-Jacques Volaire (Toulon 1729 - Naples 1799) View of Solfatara 1774

150  The royal apartment

The artist, who specialised in nocturnal views of Vesuvius erupting, decided to tackle the theme of Solfatara, situated near Pozzuoli, one of forty volcanoes that form the Phelgrean Fields. Solfatara is illuminated by early morning light which is particularly suited to portraying the special configuration of a volcanic landscape, with fumaroles from which jets of boiling mud (mud pots) and sulphurous gas pour forth. The structure on the right is the alum factory set up by Baron Brentano, an aristocratic entrepreneur. The painting, which is signed and dated, was bought by the Italian state for Capodimonte in 2005. [room 43]

Real fabbrica della porcellana di Napoli (1771-1806) Factory directed by Poulard Prad (1806-15) Chariot of Aurora 1798-1810 The imposing group, a spectacular centrepiece, is one of last products of the Real fabbrica di Napoli, the porcelain factory directed by Nicolas, and later by Poulard Prad. The group combines the typical eighteenth century elegance and gracefulness as shown by the garlands of flowers, the twelve danc-

ing girls (the Hours) and the two small putti (Happy Love and Unhappy Love) who, led by Aurora, precede the chariot of the Sun. Some figures were made using the eighteenth century moulds by Filippo Tagliolini, while others were made using new models, clearly influenced by the Empire style. The ‘modern’ figures include Caroline Murat, seated on the chariot instead of Apollo, revealing the solemn atmosphere derived from Canova, the neoclassical sculptor par excellence. [room 43]

The royal apartment  151

Neapolitan manufacture ‘Elephant’ group of crib figures mid 18th century In the nineteenth century inventories of the Catello collection, from which it comes, the work is described as a group of Snake charmers. It consists of eighteen figures, four dogs and accessories made of silver and terracotta, according to the oriental taste made by the leading exponents of Neapolitan sculptors of crib figures: Giuseppe Sanmartino (Georgian with richly embroidered cloak), Giuseppe Gori (Young oriental woman; Oriental mulatto with golden yellow coat), Lorenzo Mosca (Oriental man with moustache and red skullcap), Giovan Battista Polidoro (Oriental pageboy with green coat), Nicola 152  The royal apartment

Ingaldo (Moor with blue coat and silver filigree trunk) and Salvatore Di Franco (Samaritan with blue skirt and silver casket and Snake charmer). The Elephant was added later to complete the scene with an animal that had become famous worldwide when, in 1742, an elephant had been brought from Constantinople as a gift from the sultan, and had been taken from the park in Portici through the streets of the city. The group was a donation made by Marisa Catello (2005). [room 44]

The Farnese and Bourbon Armoury

Tournament and parade armour, harnesses made of precious metals, swords, weapons, pistols and rifles: about four thousand precious objects which record the wealth and refined quality of the collections of weapons of the Farnese family and the Bourbons, on display in the rooms of the Farnese and Bourbon armoury. [rooms 46-50]


Pompeo della Cesa (Milan, documented 1585-94) Armour of Alessandro Farnese known as the “Armour of the Lily” c. 1560 Although he was active in Milan, the armourer was considered by the Farnese family to be their own court armourer. He produced numerous suits of armour for the family of the dukes of Parma, both for military purposes and jousts, which were extremely ornate with etched decoration, The armour for Alessandro Farnese takes its name from the large lily that adorns it together with the symbol of the Golden Fleece, an honour received in 1585. [room 46]


Made in Milan Pietro Paolo Malfitano (active in Milan between 1550 and 1567) Burgonet helmet and ‘rotella’ (round shield) c. 1566 A gift made in 1800 by the Prince of Cattolica, Giuseppe Bonanno Branciforte, to Ferdinand of Bourbon, the “gioco d’armi” (a term which referred generically to the helmet and shield) was produced in Milan in 1566. It was made by the workshop of Pietro Paolo Malfitano, one of the most active armourers in Milan between 1550 and 1567, and commissioned by the ‘Congregazione dei Cavalieri d’Armi di Palermo’ (Congregation of Knights of Palermo, the protagonists of the victory of Lepanto against the Turks in 1571). The two pieces, made of embossed, wrought and gilt steel, with pieces of silver, are richly decorated, with themes taken from ancient Roman history: Marcus Curtius and the Justice of Trajan on the burgonet helmet, Horatius Cocles defends the bridge over the river Tiber on the shield. [room 46] THE FARNESE AND BOURBON ARMOURY  155

Real fabbrica della porcellana di Capodimonte, (Royal Porcelain Factory), Naples (1743-1759) Porcelain room 1757-59 Originally in the royal palace of Portici, it was designed for the rooms of Queen Maria Amalia and transferred to Capodimonte in 1866 under the supervision of the director of

the royal household Annibale Sacco. It consists of porcelain panels attached with screws to a wooden support and decorated with festoons, musical trophies, cartouches and scenes featuring figurines ‘in the Chinese fashion’. The ceiling is made of stucco painted to imitate porcelain. The room is the most significant example of the taste for ‘chinoiserie’ which was widespread throughout Europe. [room 52] The royal apartment  157

Made by the Sèvres factory (from 1740 to today) Vase with the Emperor Napoleon c. 1810 François Gérard (Rome 1770 - Paris 1837) Joachim Murat c. 1808 The work is one of the copies of a painting by Gérard for the ‘Gallery of Diana’ in the Tulieries in Paris. The future King of Naples (1806158  The royal apartment

1815) is portrayed in his uniform as the Chief Admiral of France. The uniform is an example of excellent workmanship, highlighting the rank and breathtaking military career of Napoleon’s brother-in-law. [room 54]

The shape of the vase (known as feseau), made of painted and gilded porcelain with joins and handles covered by gilt bronze, was designed by the architect Brongniart to celebrate the French emperor. The miniature on the blue background, signed by “J. Georget”, is the

official portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, taken from the painting by François Gérard (now kept at Versailles; a copy is on display in this room). It was sent as a present by Napoleon to his sister Caroline, the wife of Joachim Murat and Queen of Naples (1806-1815). The vase has a companion piece (on display in the same room), with a miniature of the Empress Maria Luisa on a light green background and with similar gold decoration. [room 54]

Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 - Venice 1822) Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte c. 1806 The plastercast portrays the mother of Napoleon Bonaparte dressed as a Roman matron and derives from a marble portrait (Chatsworth, Devonshire Collection). Canova

suggested the acquisition of the sculpture which came to Naples in 1808 together with the work Napoleon as Mars the Pacifier, now in the collection of plastercasts in the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. The plastercast is treated with a wax coating which smoothes the surfaces with an extraordinary effect in terms of the play of light. [room 55] The royal apartment  159

The Camuccini room, the “Gran Galleria”

The final part of the rearrangement of the palace undertaken by order of the Savoys regarded the third court yard: the layout of the ‘Gran Galleria in angolo verso il bosco’ (Grand Gallery in the corner towards the wood). An extraordinary part of the historic apartment, the room contains lavish ornaments and furnishings in the neoclassical taste. Like the large console tables made in Naples and the decoration of the monumental marble fireplace, the tempera decoration met Ferdinand II’s requirements for truly splendid state rooms in the palace. After Italian Unification, Annibale Sacco, who from 1860 was responsible for the royal collections, reorganised the ‘Gran Galleria di arte moderna’ with paintings by Hayez (Ulysses at the court of Alcinous), Vincenzo Camuccini (Death of Caesar and Killing of Virginia), Paolo Falciano (Aeneas emerges from the cloud and appears to Dido), Pietro Benvenuti (Judith show the people the head of Olophernes) and with neoclassical sculptures. At the centre of the room is the table commissioned by Caroline Murat which re-uses ancient mosaics and table legs from the excavations at Herculaneum. [room 56] 160  THE CAMUCCINI ROOM, THE “GRAN GALLERIA”

Vincenzo Camuccini (Rome 1771-1844) Death of Caesar c. 1804

The Death of Caesar and the Killing of Virginia were commissioned by an English aristocrat between 1793 and 1799. However, they were completed after the death of the nobleman and were rejected by his heirs. They were bought by Joachim Murat in1807 and a year later were taken to the Royal Palace of Naples, and after Unification, to the ‘Gran Galleria’ of Capodimonte in 1864. The theme of the painting reflects Camuccini’s interest in

the heroic and tragic view of human life, with the re-use of virtuous examples taken from ancient Roman history, in parallel with the revolutionary art of Jacques-Louis David. [room 56]


Made by the Breguet factory of Paris (1775 till the present) Clock with portrait of Francis I Clock with portrait of Maria Isabella 1825-30 Made during the brief reign of Francis I of Bourbon (18251830), they reflect the tradition of the Neapolitan court of ordering clocks from Paris, which were then painted in Naples with portraits of members of the royal family. The clocks produced by the factory in Paris, founded by the Swiss clockmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet in1775, were extremely popular with the Neapolitan court, as is clear from the documentary sources. The two miniatures are attributed to Raffaele Giovine (Naples, information from 1819 to 1859), who specialised in the decoration of porcelain objects. They portray the sovereigns in rooms furnished according to the taste of the period, and depicted in minute detail. [room 58]

162  The royal apartment

The royal apartment  163

Louis Lemasle (Paris 1788-1870) Wedding of Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon with the Duke of Berry 1822-23 The wedding of Maria Carolina with the Duke of Berry was held in Naples in the Palatine Chapel of Palazzo Reale on 16 April 1816 in the presence of all the court dignitaries and famous artists (including the violinist Niccolò Paganini, the musician Giovanni Paisiello and the painters Tito Angelini, Ab164  The royal apartment

bati and Lemasle himself). The painting, dated 1822-23 on the first column on the left, was designed to record the event and was entrusted to the French artist who specialised in minute reportage of worldly events and public ceremonies of the court, firstly that of Murat and later that of Ferdinand. [room 59]

Cosimo Fanzago (Clusone 1591 - Naples 1678) Francesco Balsinelli (first half 17th century) Ciborium 1624 An example of architecture in miniature, the ciborium was designed by Cosimo Fanzago in 1619 and made (1624) with the help of his assistants for the church of Santa Patrizia in Naples. It is a triumph of high quality marble and gems and a unique masterpiece of the art of inlay and marble working in seventeenth century Naples. [room 60]

The royal apartment  165

a napoli nto



second floor


61 / 97 gallery of the arts in naples from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century



77 76














contemporary art





62 d’avalos tapestries room


87 88 89

98 / 101 d’avalos collection

72 71

98 70




68 67











The Gallery of the Arts in Naples from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Century

The forty four rooms of the second floor of the palace house a sort of summary of figurative culture from the mid thirteenth century to the late eighteenth century; the works are by artists from Naples or other origins and cultural backgrounds, capable of influencing choices of the local ‘school’, and document the events surrounding the arts in the capital of the Kingdom in southern Italy. The works of illustrious masters or so-called ‘minor’ artists, paintings, tapestries and sculptures belong, together with prints and drawings displayed on a rotating basis, to the historical collections of the museum or from old suppressed monasteries, or have been donated by private individuals or purchased in recent years. They represent the largest and most extraordinary ‘permanent exhibition’ of artistic culture in Naples, from Gothic to the Renaissance, from Naturalism to Baroque, and to Neoclassicism: they range from St Ludwig of Toulouse by Simone Martini, to St Jerome in his study by Colantonio, to the fifteenth century Bust of Ferrante of Aragon, from the Road to Calvary by Polidoro da Caravaggio to The Risen Christ by Giorgio Vasari or to the sculptures of Giovanni da Nola, from Our Lady of the Rosary by Teodoro d’Errico to the Annunciation by Francesco Curia. The Flagellation by Caravaggio, painted for the church of San Domenico Maggiore, marked the start of the period of great Neapolitan seventeenth century painting: Battistello Caracciolo, Carlo Sellitto, Jusepe de Ribera, Massimo Stanzione, Aniello Falcone, Bernardo Cavallino, Andrea Vaccaro, Mattia Preti, until Luca Giordano, who paved the way with crucial works (St Francis Xavier baptises the Indians, the Begging of St Thomas of Villanova, Madonna of the Baldachin) to the eighteenth century works of Francesco Solimena, Francesco De Mura, Paolo De Matteis and Gaspare Traversi. In recent years, the collections have been increased by important acquisitions such as THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES   167

the Annunciation by Roviale Spagnolo (2008), the Virgin and Child between St Matthew and St John the Evangelist by Andrea da Salerno (2010), the Portrait of a man by Girolamo Santacroce (2004), the Last Supper by Teodoro d’Errico (2002), the Slaughter of the Innocents by Micco Spadaro (2002), the Games of putti in front of the statue of the child Bacchus by Bernardo Cavallino (2004), the Judgment of Solomon attributed to Bernardo Cavallino (donation 2008), Perseus beheading the Gorgon by Luca Giordano (2003), Portrait of Charles III of Hapsburg by Francesco Solimena (2005), St Agatha visited in prison by St Peter by Antonio de Bellis (2002), Hunters and country girls by Giuseppe Bonito (2008), the Beggar (2003) and St Jerome penitent hearing the trumpet of the Last Judgment (2008) by Gaspare Traversi, Hercules and Omphale and Hercules returns Alecestis to Admetus by Fedele Fischetti (2003).


Made in Nottingham first half 15th century Polyptych with stories of the Passion

Made of alabaster, a ductile easilyworked stone, the sculpture comes from the church of San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples, the favourite Church of the last Angevin sovereigns. The polyptych is thought to have belonged to Ladislaus of Anjou Durazzo (the church contains his splendid tomb). The special decoration of the large dossals with stories from the Passion or from the life of the Virgin Mary or the saints, included in large painted and gilded wooden frames, was widespread in England from the mid fourteenth century and Nottingham was the main centre of production. [room 61]


Flemish manufacture (16th century ) The battle of Pavia c. 1528-31 Room 62 is devoted to seven tapestries that ‘describe’ the crucial episodes of the battle of Pavia (1525) between the imperial army of Charles V, commanded by don Ferrante d’Avalos, marchese of Pescara, and the army of the King 170  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

of France Francis I, which ended in the defeat and capture of the French monarch. Woven by the famous factories of Brussels between about 1528 and 1531, the illustrations were taken from cartoons by Bernart van Orley and woven by the Flemish tapestry weaver William Dermoyen (who signed the second and sixth tapestries). Given by the emperor to the General States of Brussels, in 1571

they entered the collection of Francesco Ferdinando d’Avalos. Eloquent testimony to the spectacular craftsmanship of the workshops of northern Europe, the tapestries were given to the state, together with the entire d’Avalos collection, in 1862 by Alfonso d’Avalos. [room 62]


Giovanni da Taranto (recorded in 1304) St Dominic early 14th century The painting, stored in the church of San Pietro Martire in Naples, portrays the saint giving the Rule of the Order to his disciples and twelve stories of his life in side panels. The painting is the work of an artist from southern Italy with a Byzantine cultural background but who was sensitive to the ‘new style’ of Giotto. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 63]


Unknown artist from Campania St Mary de Flumine late 13th century Bought in 1879, the painting comes from the church of the Madonna del Rosario, near Amalfi, although it was originally in the church of Santa Maria de Flumine, near river Chiarito. It reflects the environment of coastal areas which were open to Mediterranean, Arab and, in particular, Byzantine influences. [room 63]


Roberto di Oderisio (Naples, recorded in 1382) Our Lady of Humility A work dating to the mature phase of the artist who trained in the workshop of Giotto (in Naples from 1328 to 1333), it draws on the frescoes of the church dell’Incoronata and the tomb of Robert of Anjou in Santa Chiara in Naples, which the artist had painted between 1340 and 1350. The work comes from the tomb of Giacomo d’Aquino (died 1343) in the church of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, and 174  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

may have decorated the lunette at the end. The iconography is typical of Our Lady of Humility which became popular at the papal court of Avignon following the examples of Simone Martini: the Virgin Mary, seated on the ground, suckles the Infant Jesus. In thelower part of the painting, the coats of arms of the d’Aquino family and the Sanseverino family show that it was commissioned by members of the aristocracy. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 64]

Master of the Franciscan temperas (Naples, active in late 14th century) Our Lady of Humility with St Dominic mid 14th century Like the painting by Roberto di Oderisio with the same

subject [room 64], the work comes from the Neapolitan church of San Domenico Maggiore, with the same iconography derived from prototypes widely found at Avignon. The artist, who clearly trained in a Giottoesque cultural environment, takes his name from

four tempera paintings on canvas portraying Franciscan saints. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 65]


Niccolò di Tommaso (Florence, documented during the mid 14th century) St Anthony Abbot and saints 1371 The work comes from the Neapolitan church of Sant’Antonio a Foria, founded by Joanna of Anjou. The presence of the Angevin lily, the heraldic sign of the royal family, shows that the painting was commissioned by the queen. The painting is signed and dated. [room 65]

Simone Martini (Siena c. 1284 - Avignon 1344) St Ludwig of Toulouse 1317 Signed on the predella, the large painting comes from the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore in Naples. It was commissioned by Robert of Anjou, King of Naples following the abdication of his elder brother Ludwig, Franciscan friar and Bishop of Toulouse, who was canonised in 1317. The painting cel-


ebrates the royal saint and underlines his renunciation of the earthly crown which the saint places on the head of Robert, for the celestial crown carried by angels. The predella contains stories from the life of the saint, his funeral and a miracle performed after his death. This exaltation of the Franciscan saint and, through him, of the Angevin dynasty, is a masterpiece of Simone Martini from Siena. [room 66]


Colantonio del Fiore (active in Naples in c. 1440-70) St Francis gives the Rule to the Franciscans and the Poor Clares

St Jerome in his study c. 1444-46 The works formed part of a polyptych painted for the church of San Lorenzo


Maggiore in Naples, possibly commissioned by Alfonso of Aragon (King of Naples from 1442 to 1458). The paintings were originally placed next to balus-

ters portraying Franciscan saints, which had already been lost in the eighteenth century. The two works reflect the components of Colantonio’s Flemish-Burgundian cultural background – the study of St Jerome portrayed in minute detail – and Iberian influences – the punched gold background

and the floor in foreshortened view, made up of the typical tiles of Valencia (rajoletas) with the king’s coat of arms. [room 67]


Unknown Neapolitan-Flemish artist Michael Archangel with St Jerome and St James and two patrons late 15th century


Painted by a Flemish artist (or Neapolitan artist with a Flemish cultural background), the painting used to be in the Neapolitan church of Santa Maria la Nova, in the Turbolo chapel. The Turbolo family were the donors who are portrayed next to the two saints. The work was moved to the Real Museo Borbonico in 1811-12. [room 67]

Master of San Severino (active in the second half of the 15th century) Virgin and Child and saints St Severus enthroned and saints c. 1472 The work comes from the Neapolitan church of Santi

Severino e Sossio. St Severus appears twice in the polyptych: in the painting at the bottom on the right dressed as an abbot and in the central one in bishop’s vestments. The frame was removed in the Baroque period; traces of the frame, which reveals the sumptu-

ous nature of flamboyant Gothic, can still be seen in the upper part of the paintings. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 67]


Francesco Pagano (active in the second half of the 15th century) Polyptych of St Michael c. 1492 The work is dedicated to the Patron saints of tailors, St Michael Archangel – portrayed in the central painting in his victory over the devil and to the sides in his apparitions on the Gargano and on Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome – and St Homobonus, from the Confraternity of Tailors of the Oratory of Sant’Omobono in Naples. [room 68]


Unknown Neapolitan artist (active in Naples in the second half of the 15th century) Virgin and Child enthroned St John the Baptist St Catherine of Alexandria late 15th century The tryptych has undergone careful restoration work. It comes from the ‘retreat’ of Santa Maria della Purificazione (or Santa Maria della Presentazione al Tempio), known as ‘la Scorziata’ after the name of the family of one of the founders. The paintings, which precede the construction of the retreat (1580), may originally have been in the chapel of the nearby palace, famous for its extravagant furnishings, belonging to Giulio De Scortiatis, close to the Aragonese court and on familiar terms with King Alfonso II of Aragon. In the perspective composition of the Virgin enthroned and in the sophisticated and

elaborate portrayal of the clothes of female figures, the unknown artist displays firsthand knowledge of the cultural environment of Masaccio, filtered through training in the area of Umbria or Marche. Following restoration work, the paintings are now on display in their original dimensions (between the late sixteenth and the early seventeenth

centuries, the triptych had been raised in height with a band showing small angels) and the sword of St Catherine is visible once more. [room 68]


Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto) (Perugia 1454 - Siena 1513) Assumption of the Virgin early 15th century The work draws on the composition and iconography of the painting done by Perugino for the cathedral of Naples commissioned by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa. On the model of the painting of the cathedral, the work was ordered by the banker and merchant Paolo Tolosa for the

altar of the family chapel in the Neapolitan church of Monteoliveto. Recent restoration work has made it possible to attribute the work, previously considered to be by his workshop, to the master. [room 69] Guido Mazzoni (Modena c. 1450 -1518) Bust of Ferrante II of Aragon or Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Calabria c. 1492-93

The bronze portrait, which displays crude realism in the facial features and the sophisticated treatment of the details of the brocade gown and the ornaments, is attributed to the artist from Modena (active in Naples between 1489 and 1494) who was renowned for groups of painted terracotta sculptures devoted to depositions and mourning scenes. [room 69]


Matteo di Giovanni (Borgo San Sepolcro c. 1430 - Siena c. 1495) Slaughter of the innocents c. 1472 The painting, with its estreme and dramatic dynamism, was probably commissioned in Siena by Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Calabria, to commemorate the slaughter carried out

by the Turks at Otranto in 1480. The relics of the martyrs were transferred to Naples by order of the duke and kept, together with the painting, in the church of Santa Caterina a Formiello. A work done in the mature phase of the artist’s career, the actual date of execution is still uncertain due to the different interpretations of the date – marked with the signature


in the lower mid part of the work – which has been interpreted as 1468, 1488 or 1478. [room 69]

Giovan Filippo Criscuolo (Gaeta 1500 - Naples c. 1584) Polyptych with adoration of the Child and saints c. 1545 The work comes from the church of the Annunciata in Aversa. The artist was a pupil and assistant of Andrea da Salerno and, on the death of the master, completed the work at Gaeta. A cartouche placed on the lower part of the central painting bears the signature and date (possibly altered). [room 70]


Andrea da Salerno (Andrea Sabatini) (Salerno c. 1489 Gaeta 1530) Virgin and Child with St Matthew and St John the Evangelist c. 1515 The painting is an important source of evidence for the ‘modern style’ in Naples, based on the lesson of Raphael and with an interpretation of the models of Leonardo mediated through the work of Cesare da Sesto. The work was purchased by the Italian state for Capodimonte in 2010. [room 70]

Andrea da Salerno (Andrea Sabatini) (Salerno c. 1489 Gaeta 1530) St Benedict enthroned 1529-30 The painting is the work of the southern Italian art188  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

ist who was closest to the style of Raphael. Andrea da Salerno received numerous important commissions and created a successful workshop. [room 70]


Cesare da Sesto (Sesto Calende? c. 1477 Milan 1523) Adoration of the magi 1516-19

Active between Messina and Naples from 1513 to the end of the decade, the artist from Lombardy painted the work for the Congregation of St Nicholas of the Gentlemen in Messina. The paint-


ing, which is one of his most famous, shows that the artist had profoundly updated his style on the basis of Leonardoesque and Roman culture, with knowledge of the Vatican rooms by Ra-

phael and the Sistine Chapel of Michelangelo. [room 70] Pseudo Bramantino (Pedro Fernández) (active in Spain and Italy in the first half of the 14th century) Polyptych of the Visitation c. 1509-10

The work was painted for the main altar of the Neapolitan church of Santa Maria delle Grazie a Caponapoli originally included a central panel – now lost – portraying Our Lady of Grace and two saints. The Leonardoesque features and the severe perspective, learnt from Bramante, reveal the

cultural background of Pedro Fernández, who was born in Spain but received his training in Italian culture, in close contact with the ‘modern’ artistic trends of Lombardy. [room 70]


Polidoro da Caravaggio (Polidoro Caldara) (Caravaggio 1499/1500 Messina 1543?) The road to Calvary 1534 The work was painted for the church of the Annunziata dei Catalani in Messina, commissioned in 192  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

1530 by the consul of the Confraternity. The extreme freedom in the use of colour and the unusual characterization of the scene – a dynamic and dramatic procession, a violently expressive interpretation of Raphaelesque culture – led his contemporaries to consider the work the masterpiece of Polidoro da Caravaggio. [room 72]

Marco Cardisco (active in Naples between 1510/15 and c. 1542) Disputation of St Augustine 1532-33 The work is the central part of a retablo painted for the main altar of the church of Sant’Agostino alla Zecca in Naples, later removed and dismantled during the eighteenth century. It was painted by Cardisco and based on a drawing by Polidoro da Caravaggio, who was initially commissioned to do the work (1527). [room 73]


Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511 - Florence 1574) Presentation at the Temple 1544-45 This painting replaced another work on the same theme painted for the church of Monteoliveto in Naples by Leonardo da Pistoia, considered guilty of giving the characters contemporary faces, breaking the rules that had just been imposed in the field of sacred representation by the Council of Trent. With the powerful influence of classicism inspired by the Vatican rooms painted by Raphael, the work was widely appreciated and copied by local painters. [room 74]


Marco Pino (Siena, recorded in 1537 Naples? after 1579) Adoration of the magi c. 1567

Together with the painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds, the work was part of the predella of the altarpiece for the main altar of the church of Gesù Vecchio in Naples. Pino was commissioned to paint the work by the Jesuits. The painting displays the typical features of the artist’s work: the ‘serpentine’ figures derived from Mi-

chelangelo and the lively composition with a work of classical architecture in the background. The central painting of the altarpiece, portraying the Circumcision, is on temporary loan to the church of San Francesco di Paola where it is on display. [room 75]


Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511 - Florence 1574) Paintings for the sacristy of San Giovanni a Carbonara Beheading of St John the Baptist

St Matthew Sacrifice of Isaac Cain and Abel c. 1545 The paintings belong to a series of at least twenty two works. Sixteen of the paintings are at Capodi-


monte, two in France (Abraham and Melchizedec, Avignon, Museé Calvet; The Last Supper, Troyes, Musée des Beaux-Artes et Archeologie, given to the French to replace the paintings taken at Rome by Domenico Venuti in the storeroom of the church of San Luigi dei Francesi) while four are lost; Vasari was commissioned to paint the latter works in September 1545 for the sacristy of the Neapolitan church of San Giovanni a Carbonara. Vasari was also asked to design the wooden furnishings for displaying the paintings, a decorative solution that refers to ‘profane’ examples such as cabinets, in which cycles of paintings with a specific iconography were placed in the wooden facing of the walls. The paintings were transferred to the ‘Galleria borbonica’ in Palazzo Francavilla in 1802. [room 75]


Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1489/90 Venice 1576) Annunciation c. 1557 The painting was commissioned by Cosimo Pinelli for the chapel of the ‘Vergine Annunciata’ in the church of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. Pinelli had acquired the patronage of the chapel. It is one of the most admired works of the final phase of Titian’s career, marked by a slow disintegration of the materials employed caused by exposure to light and the gradual decomposition of the paint fabric. The painting is signed on the priedieu. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 76]


Francesco Curia (information 1588-1608) Annunciation 1596-97 The work was a commission from Bishop Giovan Francesco Dentice for the family chapel in the Neapolitan church of Monteoliveto. In 1801, after the suppression of the monastery, the work entered the Bourbon collections. It is a masterpiece of international mannerism, reflecting the artist’s capacity to incorporate the composite artistic influences of late sixteenth century Europe into his own personal style. [room 76]


Teodoro d’Errico (Dirk Hendricksz Centen) (Amstedam c. 1544-1618) Our Lady of the Rosary 1578-79 The work was painted for the monastery of San Gaudioso in Naples. The bright colours, the expressionist power and the attention to minute details reveal the Flemish background of the artist who was active in Naples between 1573 and 1608. [room 76] Scipione Pulzone (Gaeta c. 1550 - Rome 1598) Annunciation 1587

Painted for the church of San Domenico in Gaeta, the work reflects the devotional trend of strict religious observance of the ‘rules’ laid down by the Council of Trent on sacred art. The painting is signed and dated on the cartouche placed on the base of the prie-dieu. [room 77] Caravaggio (Caravaggio 1571/72 Porto Ercole 1610) Flagellation 1607/1609 Kept in the storeroom of the Neapolitan church of San Domenico Maggiore, the painting comes from the


de Franchis chapel where it was replaced by a seventeenth century copy by Andrea Vaccaro. The artist was commissioned, after being summoned by the governors of the Pio Monte della Misericordia, in May 1607 but it was completed during Caravaggio’s second troubled stay in Naples (160910). The modern style of the artist from Lombardy, which was assimilated and appropriated by younger Neapolitan artists, paved the way, beginning from the 1620s, for an extraordinary phase of Neapolitan naturalism. Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto. [room 78]

Carlo Sellitto (Naples 1581-1614) St Cecilia 1613 The work comes from the church of Santa Maria della Solitaria, in the chapel of the musicians dedicated to Santa Cecilia. Having trained in a cultural environment of musicians and composers, Sellitto portrays the patron saint of musicians as being struck by the light that defines the space, the result of the influence of Caravaggesque style. [room 79] Battistello (Giovan Battista Caracciolo) (Naples 1578-1635) Christ at the column c. 1630 The strong caravaggesque component is mitigated by the search for softer tones and a personal formal style with a more enveloping bronze light, a typical feature of the artist’s works. The painting was bought

for Capodimonte in 1973. [room 79]


Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593 - London 1652/53) Judith and Olophernes 1612-13 Compared to other paintings on this theme dating to the sixteenth and seventeenth century which portray the escape of the women from the enemy camp or Judith showing the head of Olophernes, Gentileschi uses a different approach. Drawing on the painting by Caravaggio in Palazzo Barberini, she captures on canvas the most dramatic moment: the Jewish heroine, her sleeves pulled up and helped by her handmaid, is portrayed beheading Olophernes. A later version of the Neapolitan painting is kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. [room 87] Simon Vouet (Paris1590-1649) Circumcision 1622 Signed and dated by the leading exponent of French caravaggesque painters in Rome, the altarpiece was commissioned for the Neapolitan

church of Sant’Arcangelo a Segno and sent from Rome. The composition is extremely striking: the figures are framed by architectural elements and magnificent red curtains,

inspired by the work of Caravaggio. [room 88]


Massimo Stanzione (Orta di Atella c. 1585 Naples c. 1658) Sacrifice of Moses 1628-30 The work, which dates to the artist’s early mature

phase, displays a composition of immense breadth and is full of natural details, revealing the influence of Simon Vouet and the Roman circle of French and northern European caravaggesque painters. In the


late seventeenth century, the work was part of the collection of the famous Flemish art dealer Ferdinand Vandeneyden. [room 89]

Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591 - Naples 1652) St Jerome and the Angel of Judgment 1626 The work was painted for the Neapolitan church of the Santissima Trinità delle Monache, for which Ribera had also painted the Trinitas Terrestris [room 90]. The painting was transferred to the Bourbon Museum in 1813 following the suppression of the monastery. The saint’s identity is shown by his typical symbols: the skull, the symbol of penitence, the scroll that alludes to the translation of the Bible, the red cardinal’s cloak and, in the background on the left, the lion tamed by the treatment of the saint. In the painting, the saint is surprised by the apparition of a caravaggesque angel blowing the trumpet of Judgment. The details of the skull and the books are true examples of still life painting, taken from life; however, compared to the gloomy realism of his early works, the chiaroscuro is toned down and the colours are brighter, a prelude to the lighter and more vivid style of the 1630s. Signed and dated. [room 90] THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES  207

Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591 - Naples 1652) Drunken Silenus 1626 The work belonged to the Flemish merchant Gaspare Roomer (1653), before being inherited by Ferdinand Vandeneyden. The painting portrays an orgy – taken from Ovid’s tale of the Fasti – which, due to the complexity of the iconography, has 208  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

led to different allegorical interpretations. The centre of the scene is dominated by Silenus, the son of Pan, portrayed in a state of drunkenness caused by repeated drinking sessions in honour of Bacchus. The work is a masterpiece of Ribera’s early mature phase, in which caravaggesque influences are still evident. Signed and dated on the cartouche on the bottom left, supported by a snake. [room 91]

Master of the Announcement to the shepherds (active in the first half of the 17th century) Announcement to the shepherds c. 1625

The adherence to caravaggesque naturalism is clear not only from the use of light, but also with the choice of the portrayed figures: real farm labourers and shepherd ‘portrayed’ from life. The painting has been attributed to either Bartolomeo Passante or the painter of Spanish origin Juan Do. The painting was donated to the museum in 1884. [room 91]


Matthias Stomer (Amersfoort c. 1600 - Sicily after 1650) Adoration of the shepherds c. 1637 The candlelight scenes are a widespread genre in seventeenth century Dutch painting and Stomer, who specialised in this type of composition – which was studied in particular at Rome by northern European artists – achieved extremely atmospheric light effects. 210  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES

The artist was in Naples between 1633 and 1637 and the work belongs to the end of his stay; it was commissioned by the d’Avalos family whose collection was donated to the Italian state in 1862 and displayed in Capodimonte. [room 92]

Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670) Triumph of David 1640-50

the trend of pictorialism which spread from Rome to Naples in the 1640s. It entered the Capodimonte collections in 1955. [room 93]

After defeating the giant Goliath, David was celebrated by the women of Israel. The work displays a sophisticated use of colour, with brown and purple tones, and a pleasant narrative style of the Biblical episode which reflects the influence of Bernardo Cavallino and THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES  211

Francesco Guarino (Sant’Agata Irpina 1611 Gravina 1654) St Agatha c. 1640 The painting is one of the most famous images of seventeenth century Neapolitan painting. It reveals the influence of Stanzione and the new trend towards rich painting materials and refined combinations of colour. The face of the saint, which is highly distinctive, may be the portrait of a Neapolitan noblewoman. [room 93]

Bernardo Cavallino (Naples 1616-1656) St Cecilia in ecstasy 1645


The painting, which displays great formal elegance and sophisticated use of colour, comes from the Neapolitan church of Sant’Antonio a Padova. Signed and dated on the back of the book on the lower right. [room 94]

Micco Spadaro (Domenico Gargiulo) (Naples c. 1609-1675) Viviano Codazzi (Bergamo 1604 - Rome 1670) Villa with portico and baldachin 1641


It is one of the numerous examples of collaboration between the two artists: Viviano Codazzi designed the architecture while Micco Spadaro painted the figurines, with the characteristic elongated forms that seem to derive from the prints of Callot, and the landscape, with a composition that has an almost theatrical effect. [room 95]

Aniello Falcone (Naples 1607-1656) Begging of St Lucia c. 1630

The saint looks out from a loggia to offer her support to the poor. The theme is portrayed by Falcone as a genre scene and reflects his background in naturalism and the artist’s interest in Roman “bamboccianti”. [room 95]


Giovan Battista Recco (Naples 1634 - before 1660?) Still life with head of a billy-goat c. 1650 An accurate portrayal of a kitchen interior painted from ‘real life’. The objects, which are illuminated by a natural light, are clearly drawn in the background and portrayed with analytical precision. [room 97] Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591 - Naples 1652) Kitchen interior with head of a billy-goat c. 1630 The standard objects of a kitchen interior emerge from the darkness in a fairly small surface while the bleeding head of a billygoat has been left to drip into a large copper basin. The extraordinarily realistic painting has recently been attributed (Nicola Spinosa) to Ribera who explores objects using light in a wholly caravaggesque manner. [room 97]


Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617 - Naples or Rome 1670/80) Flowers with a crystal cup c. 1655 The analytical definition of the details reveals the links with naturalism within a magnificent compositional layout, emphasised by the richness of colour and the profusion of flowers. [room 97]


The d’Avalos collection

Part of the collection of Andrea d’Avalos Prince of Montesarchio has been reconstructed in rooms 98-101 (the collection was donated to the state in 1862 by the heirs of the d’Avalos family). During the second half of seventeenth century the prince selected and collected decorative paintings, such as still lifes, or sensual works, with themes taken from history, mythology and literature.


Pacecco (Francesco De Rosa) (Naples 1607-1656) Diana bathing The painting is one of the works commissioned directly by the d’Avalos family portraying themes taken from history, mythology or literature. The painting is part of a series by Pacecco with themes of classical mythology. Diana bathing, surprised by the hunter

Acteon who would be punished with his life, is the subject of this elegant sensual painting in which the female nudes are inspired by classical art in the reinterpretation by Domenichino. [room 100]


Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591 - Naples 1652) Apollo and Marsyas 1637


The painting captures the final dramatic moment of the musical contest between Marsyas and Apollo: the god flays the satyr alive to punish him for his arrogance. The work is part of the d’Avalos collection and is signed and dated. [room 100]

Luca Giordano (Naples 1634-1705) Apollo and Marsyas c. end 1650

The work is the counterpart piece to Ribera’s painting and is the Neapolitan’s tribute to the great master. It comes from the collection of the Prince of Fondi and was purchased by the Italian state in 1879. [room 100]


Luca Giordano (Naples 1634-1705) Perseus beheads the Gorgon Medusa after 1660 An important acquisition by the Museum of Capodimonte (purchased in 2003), the painting has been dated to after 1660, a period 222  THE D’AVALOS COLLECTION

when Giordano was interested in the work of Rubens and Titian. The work portrays the crucial moment of the myth of Perseus and Medusa: the hero, looking at the image reflected in the magic shield given to him by Minerva, can decapitate Medusa, the Gorgon who turned to stone anyone who looked her in the eyes. [room 101]

Mattia Preti (Taverna 1613 - La Valletta 1699) Return of the prodigal son 1656

Painted together with four other works for Diomede Carafa, Duke of Maddaloni, Preti illustrates the parable described in the Gospel of St Luke. Many of the artist’s distinctive traits are shown in the work: the monumental scene, framed by elements of classical architecture, and the search for an almost theatrical effect. [room 102]


Mattia Preti (Taverna 1613 - La Valletta 1699) Sketch for the frescoes for the plague of 1656 1656 After escaping from the terrible plague that struck Naples in 1656 and wiped out an entire generation, Preti was commissioned by the ‘Elect of the city’ to paint frescoes on the seven city gates as ex votos. He employed a precise iconographic programme that featured the Virgin and Child with St Januarius and, in alternation, the other patron saints of the city. The only fresco to survive is the one on Porta San Gennaro in via Foria. [room 102]


Luca Giordano (Naples 1634-1705) Our Lady of the Baldachin c. 1686 The work was commissioned for the Neapolitan church of Santo Spirito di Palazzo. It is a brightly coloured example of baroque, with a monumental composition, which can be compared with the spectacular theatrical painting of Pietro da Cortona. It entered the Bourbon collections in 1806, following the suppression of monasteries and convents. [room 103]


Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino 1657 Barra 1747) Aeneas and Dido c. 1739-41 The monumental work, with its magnificent colours, was painted for Palazzo Tarsia Spinelli in Naples. The theme of the work is taken from the first book of the Aeneid and shows the meeting between Dido, Queen of Carthage, and Aeneas, accompanied by his son Ascanius, portrayed as Cupid, the god of love. In the composition, Solimena returns to one of his works painted in the early eighteenth century (Dido receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius, London, National Gallery). [room 104]


Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino 1657 Barra 1747) The Prince of Tarsia c. 1741 Ferdinando Vincenzo Spinelli, Prince of Tarsia, was a keen collector of works of art and an important figure in court. Solimena portrays him in the magnificent clothing of Knight of the Order of St Januarius– an honour created by Charles of Bourbon in 1738

– and with the exotic detail of the Moorish page boy. [room 104] Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino 1657 Barra 1747) Charles III of Hapsburg c. 1707 The portrait of Charles of Hapsburg, the Archduke of Austria and future emperor (1711), was painted soon after the entrance of imperial troops in Naples in 1707,

the start of the Austrian viceroyalty in southern Italy (1707-1734). The commissions from the Hapsburgs marked a change in Solimena’s painting which became more solemn and monumental. The painting was purchased for Capodimonte in 2005. [room 104]


Francesco De Mura (Naples 1696-1782) Vision of St Benedict c. 1738-46 The work is part of a series of preparatory studies for the decoration of the nave and the counter-façade of the church of Santi Severino e Sossio in Naples. Painted between 1738 and 1746, the paintings reveal the development of the artist’s style, from the influence of Solimena’s painting to the rocaille solutions pitched between Arcadia and melodrama. [room 104] Gaspare Traversi (Naples c. 1722 - Rome 1770) Musical entertainment c. 1745-50 An example of Traversi’s work in Rome, the painting is an ironic critique of the customs of the new bourgeoisie, their clumsy attempt to appropriate the lifestyle of the aristocracy. His work is informed by the debate initiated in England by William Hogart in painting and by Jonathan Swift in literature. It was purchased by the Italian state for Capodimonte in 1999. [room 106] 228  THE GALLERY OF THE ARTS IN NAPLES


third floor photographic gallery nineteenth century gallery contemporary art


The Nineteenth Century Gallery

The nineteenth century works belong to the late Bourbon period and the post-Unification phase, and mark the contribution of Neapolitan artists to the renewal of Italian figurative language. Through different forms of expression, the prevailing tendency, as in other European countries, became the exploration of the themes of realism; the need to reflect reality in its individual social, psychological, historical and naturalistic aspects saw the involvement of the leading figures of their age, each one according to their own individual temperament: in paintings like The bodies of Christian martyrs taken to heaven by angels, The iconoclasts or The Sicilian Vespers, Domenico Morelli was the exponent of a new romantic sensibility both in pictorial style and choice of themes, inspired by liberal ideals; the brothers Nicola and Filippo Palizzi, champions of a style of painting based on the study of nature from real life; Gioacchino Toma was oriented towards a type of ‘realism’ that explores feelings; Francesco Paolo Michetti, like Vincenzo Migliaro, focused on portraying the typical aspects of the lives of ordinary people; Vincenzo Gemito produced both drawings and sculptures of the drama of the lives of humble people.


Domenico Morelli (Naples 1823-1901) The iconoclasts 1855 Considered to be the ‘historical manifesto’ of the new liberal ideologies that

followed the revolts of 1848, the painting, which is signed and dated, is inspired by the story of Lazarus Zographos. The Byzantine monk and painter was persecuted because of the accusations of idolatry brought against


the cult of sacred images by the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian. Morelli portrays the face of the monk as a young liberal oppressed by the Bourbon police. Purchased at the Bourbon Exposition in 1855.

Filippo Palizzi (Vasto 1818 - Naples 1899) The animals coming out of the ark 1861 The work is an example of the ‘naturalism’ of Palizzi who applied his method of real life studies of animals, used as models for his paintings. The painting preserves the original frame designed by the painter who includes the figure of the Heavenly Father in the upper part, extending the compositon beyond the limit imposed by the painting. The artist was commissioned by Victor Emanuel II in 1861. Francesco Saverio Altamura (Foggia 1822 - Naples 1897) The triumph of Marius 1864 The historical painting celebrates the victory of the Roman general over the Cymbrians, the ‘barbarian’ invaders who were defeat-

ed at the battle of Vercellae (the Raudine plain) in 101 BC. To provide a realistic description of the landscape, the artist visited and made sketches of the sites

of the battle from real life. The painting was commissioned by Victor Emmanuel II in 1864 for the palace of Capodimonte.


Contemporary art

The Contemporary Art section reflects international research and experimentation: works range from Italian masters, Alfano (Room), Burri (Large Black Crack), Fabro (North, South, East, West play at Shanghai), Mattiacci (Southern sign Cross of the South), Merz (Shock Wave), Paladino (Tank), Spinosa (Grey time, A maggot is born), Tatafiore (Abstract composition), to the leading figures of the international avantgarde: Kosuth (Modus Operandi), Kounellis (Untitled), LeWitt (White bands in a black room), Polke (Faded), Warhol, the leading figure of Pop Art, who in 1985 made the silkscreen prints of Vesuvius erupting (Vesuvius).


Alberto Burri (Città di Castello 1915 - Nice 1995) Grande Cretto Nero (Large Black Crack) 1978

Made for Capodimonte, the work was donated by the artist to the museum in 1980.


Andy Warhol (Pittsburgh 1928 - New York 1987) Vesuvius 1985 For his personal show at Capodimonte (1985) the artist paid tribute to the most famous and widely repeated icon of the city, the undisputed protagonist of Neapolitan landscape painting.


The photographic Gallery

Opened in 1996, the section comprises fifty two photographs taken by Mimmo Jodice between 1968 and 1988 devoted to the Neapolitan art scene (artists and galleries) during a period marked by encounters and debates between leading Italian and international figures.



printed in october 2012 printing born to print, naples binding legatoria s. tonti, mugnano

[brief] guide the museum of capodimonte  

a brief guide of one of the most important museum in Italy

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you